fen grass of Parnassus

(Parnassia glauca)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

fen grass of Parnassus

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

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

 

Habitat

Wet. Calcareous bogs, meadows, shores.

Flowering

August to October

     
Flower Color

White with dark green veins

     
Height

8 to 16

     

Identification

This 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.

 
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.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Celastraceae (bittersweet)

 

Subfamily:

Parnassioideae

 
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 or flower cluster.

 

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

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  fen grass of Parnassus    
       
       

 

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