fen grass of Parnassus

(Parnassia glauca)

Conservation Status
fen grass of Parnassus
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

OBL - Obligate wetland

     
  Midwest

OBL - Obligate wetland

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

OBL - Obligate wetland

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Fen grass of Parnassus is a 8 to 16 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises from a short, thickened, underground stem (caudex) abd fibrous roots.

Basal leaves are on long leaf stalks and form a rosette. They are stiff, leathery, hairless, egg-shaped to almost circular, 1 to 2 long, and to 1¾ wide. They are always longer than wide. The base is broadly rounded or slightly heart-shaped. The blade extends down the leaf stalk a short distance below the point of attachment. The margins are untoothed.

A single, unbranched, hairless, 8 to 16 long flowering stalk (scape) rises from the rosette of basal leaves. There is usually a single leaf-like bract at or well below the middle of the stem. The bract is similar to the basal leaves only smaller. It is stalkless or on a short stalk, but does not clasp the stem.

The inflorescence is a single flower held erect at the end of the stem.

The flowers are ¾ to 1½ wide. Each flower has 5 green sepals and 5 white, to 11 16 long petals with conspicuous, dark green veins. The 5 center veins of each petal are usually unbranched. There are 5 white stamens with brown anthers. There are also 5 white sterile stamens (staminodes) that are divided into 3 filaments for 3 5 or 4 5 of their length, each filament topped with an anther reduced to a gland. The staminodes are a little shorter than the stamens.

The fruit is a 4-valved, egg-shaped, 5 16 to ½ long capsule with numerous seeds.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

8 to 16

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

White with dark green veins

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  Marsh grass of Parnassus (Parnassia palustris) has a larger bract, as large as the basal leaves. The bract clasps the stem. The staminodes are green or yellow, and are divided near the tip into 9 to 23 filaments.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Wet. Calcareous bogs, meadows, shores.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

August to October

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

 
  12/26/2011      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Rosanae  
 

Order

Celastrales (staff-vines and allies)  
 

Family

Celastraceae (bittersweet)  
  Subfamily Parnassioideae  
 

Genus

Parnassia (grass of Parnassus)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

 

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Parnassia americana

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

American grass-of-Parnassus

fen grass of Parnassus

fen grass-of-Parnassus

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Bract

Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.

 

Caudex

A short, thickened, woody, persistent enlargement of the stem, at or below ground level, used for water storage.

 

Clasping

Describing a leaf that wholly or partly surrounds the stem but does not fuse at the base.

 

Scape

An erect, leafless stalk growing from the rootstock and supporting a flower or a flower cluster.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

 

Staminode

A modified stamen that produces no pollen. It often has no anther.

       
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Flower

  fen grass of Parnassus   fen grass of Parnassus
       
  fen grass of Parnassus    
       

Fruit

  fen grass of Parnassus    
       
       

 

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