Parnassia glauca Raf. - Grass of Parnassus


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Parnassia glauca - (image 1 of 5)



Family: Saxifragaceae


Calcareous springy places like fens. Also occurs on interdunal flats near Lake Michigan.


In calcareous fens, most often with Lobelia kalmii. Also with Agalinis tenuifolia, Calamintha arkansana, Carex hystericina, Cirsium muticum, Eleocharis elliptica, Eupatorium perfoliatum, Gentiana procera, Lysimachia quadriflora, Muhlenbergia glomerata, Panicum flexile, Pedicularis lanceolata, Potentilla fruiticosa, Scleria verticillata, Solidago ohioensis, Solidago patula, Solidago riddellii, Solidago uliginosa, Triglochin maritima, Valeriana ciliata.


In the U.S. from New England south to NJ, west through the Great Lakes to IA, MN, and the Dakotas. Also occurs in southeastern Canada.


Herbaceous perennial to 20" high. Leaves all basal (sometimes with 1 or 2 cauline leaves), up to twice as long as wide, heart-shaped ovate or round, entire or remotely and scarcely repand-denticulate. Flowers to 1" wide, solitary, white, often with gray-green veins; sepals 5; petals 5; stamens 5; there are additional 3-pronged, gland-tipped, sterile stamens at the base of each petal forming a circle around the pistil. Scape glabrous. Fruit a 4-parted capsule.


Flowers mid August to early October.

Wetland indicator: Obligate

Parnassus refers to the mountain in Greece where ancient naturalist Dioscorides described similar plants in meadows.


Niering, W. A. 1979. The Audubon society field guide to North American wildflowers: eastern region.
Knopf/Random House, New York.


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.




 Michael Hough 2005