The genus Parnassia, also known as Grass of Parnassus or bog-stars, are plants in the family Celastraceae. The plants occur in arctic and alpine habitats, as well as in dune systems and fens, swamps, moist woods, and across the Northern Hemisphere. Just a note about bogs and fens. Both bogs and fens have a substrate of peat. In the case of a bog, the peat substrate consists primarily of sphagnum; in the case of a fen, it consists primarily of sedges (Carex spp.). Bogs are very acidic, have a low pH, and very specialized plants, including the insectivorous ones—sundews, pitcher plants, and bladderworts. Ericaceous shrubs, esp. leatherleaf and sheep laurel, are typical of bogs. The signature bog tree is black spruce. Fens have a relatively high pH from seepage inflows over calcareous bedrock, and a high species diversity with some very rare species such as showy and yellow lady’s-slippers, other orchids, a great variety of sedges, and unusual wildflowers such as great lobelia and grass-of-parnassus.
This plant is actually not a grass, but a herbaceous dicot. The stalk of the plant can reach up to 8 inches (200 mm), the leaves up to 4 inches (100 mm) and the petals can be up to 1.4 inches (36 mm) wide. The flower has five 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 nectaries, 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.
Parnassus flowers are the symbol of the clan MacLea, also known as the highland Livingstone clan, which is said to be because they were the favorite flower of St. Moluag, the Irish missionary whose staff the clan chiefs hold.
* P. asarifolia
1. ^ "Parnassiaceae". Flora of Pakistan. http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=5&taxon_id=20220.
Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License