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Parnassia glauca (Fen grass of parnassus)
Smith, R.W.

Parnassia glauca

Parnassia glauca Raf.

Fen Grass Of Parnassus, Grass-of-parnassus

Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage Family)

Synonym(s): Parnassia americana

USDA Symbol: pagl3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

One white flower, with petals striped with green veins, atop a stem bearing 1 rounded, clasping leaf at midstem; other leaves basal.

The delicate, green veins of the petals are the distinctive feature of this perennial. Despite its common name, it does not really resemble a grass; Parnassus refers to the Greek mountain, sacred to Apollo, where the ancient naturalist Dioscorides observed similar plants in meadows. Three other very similar species of Parnassia occur in the South.


From the Image Gallery

5 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 2 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Green
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


USA: CT , IA , IL , IN , MA , ME , MI , MN , ND , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SD , VT , WI
Canada: MB , NB , NL , ON , QC , SK
Native Distribution: Saskatchewan east to Newfoundland, south to Pennsylvania, and west to Illinois, Iowa, and the Dakotas.
Native Habitat: Bogs, meadows, and shorelines.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil Description: Sandy loam


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Parnassia glauca in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Parnassia glauca in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Parnassia glauca


Record Modified: 2023-05-17
Research By: TWC Staff

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