This family has recently undergone taxonomic changes resulting from molecular research that has shown that there are numerous evolutionary lines that explain the enormous morphological diversity included in the classic concept of the family. Today, Saxifragaceae includes a smaller number of genera (35) and species (640).
Saxifragaceae are plants primarily in the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic to temperate zones. Interestingly, they are also found in the tropical mountains. The family's center of diversity is in eastern North America, east Asia and the Himalayas. They are generally perennial herbaceous with mostly basal and often succulent leaves. The flowers, although small, are numerous, and several species are cultivated as ornamental.
In Portugal there is only Chrysosplenium oppositifolium, a European sub-Atlantic species of a small genus from the Arctic and more diverse temperate zones in eastern Asia; and Saxifraga from humid locations or rock cracks. Of the nine species of Saxifraga native in Portugal, one is endemic (S. cintrana), three are vulnerable (S. cintrana, S. dichotoma, S. stellaris), one only has a wide distribution (S. granulata).