Grass-of-Parnassus are attractive perennial wildflowers with single or clustered stems from 15-30 cm high arising from a cluster of basal leaves atop short rhizomes. A heart-shape bract from 5-15 mm long may be found clasping the stem near to above midstem. The stems and leaves are smooth and hairless. The blades of the basal leaves are usually heart- or kidney-shaped and 2-4 cm wide. The leaf blades, if present, are slightly longer than wide. The leaf stalks are 3-10 cm long. The white flowers are solitary at the top of the stems. Each of the 5 petals has visible veins. There are 10 stamens, most species have five fertile stamens and five sterile stamens which are tipped with several greenish glands. One species have all stamens sterile. Grass-of-Parnassus may be found in marshes, bogs, wet meadows and along streams in the lower mountains up to the alpine zone.
Guide to Identify Presented Species of Genus Parnassia
PETALS FRINGED, LONGER THAN SEPALS
P. fimbriata Fringed Grass-of-Parnassus Has 1 clasping leaf near mid-stem, 10-30 cm tall. Wet sites in mountains.
Flowers white, about 20 mm wide. Petals 5-7-veined, with hair-like fringes.
Leaves basal, broadly heart- to kidney-shaped, glossy, stalked.