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Grass of Parnassus

Discussion in 'Macro, Flowers, Insects, and Greenery' started by Pa, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. This is a fairly rare wildflower in our neck of the woods. Saw a few last September, and went back to the same spot today and found only one blooming. Too early, I'm sure. Anyway, here's the one.

    First shot of the entire plant for context:

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    Then a closeup of the blossom:

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  2. tektite


    Jan 23, 2006
    SE NH
    Very nice. Any idea why it has this name/

  3. Leigh


    Feb 19, 2005
    It's beautiful, so tiny. About how big is the blossom itself?
  4. According to Wikipedia:

    Grass of Parnassus is the English name for the genus Parnassia, also known as Bog-stars. Parnassia is considered by many authors the only genus in the family Parnassiaceae, while others also include the small genus Lepuropetalon. The plants occur in arctic and alpine habitats, as well as in dune systems and bogs, swamps, moist woods, and across the Northern Hemisphere.

    This plant is actually not a grass, but a flower. The stock of the plant can reach up to 8 inches, the leaves up to 4 inches and the petals can be up to 1.4 inches wide. The flower has 5 white petals, each with light green vein-like lines on them. In the center, are five three-pronged sterile stamens, each tipped with shiny, drop-like, false nectarines, which (along with the green lines) seem to lead flies and bees to the nectar in the very center of the flower. This flower blooms in late summer, around July, and into late fall.

    According to another web site, there aren't supposed to be any in Virginia.
  5. We also saw them In Alaska on July 12th:

  6. Jim
    that blossom is beautiful
    nice shot
    thanks for sharing it with us
  7. According to the book Wildflowers of Alabama by Blanche Dean, Amy Mason, and my cousin Joab L. Thomas, "The name was derived from a name given by the Greek physician Dioscorides to a similar species that supposedly grew on Mount Parnassus"
  8. Very nice, Jim. This gives me some incentive to start looking for autumn flowers.

    Larry, thanks for the link -- the USDA site appears to have improved significantly since the last time I visited there.
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