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Peter W. Ball

Perennial herb from caudex or rhizome [annual], generally glabrous, often with ± red marks on leaves, flowers when dry. Stem: scape with generally 1 leaf-like bract [scape 0]. Leaf: simple, basal [cauline], alternate [subopposite], generally petioled, often with ± red marks when dry; veins ± palmate. Inflorescence: 1-flowered [cyme]. Flower: generally bisexual, ± radial; hypanthium minute, free from ovary; calyx lobes generally 5; petals generally 5 [0], free, generally white; stamens generally 5, opposite sepals; staminodes generally 5, alternate stamens, lobes generally present, thread-like to oblong, gland-tipped; pistil 1, ovary superior, chamber ± 1, placentas 4 [3], axile below, parietal above, styles very short, stigmas [3]4. Fruit: [3]4-valved capsule. Seed: many, winged, netted.
2 genera, ± 70 species: northern temperate, low arctic, alpine, temperate South America (Lepuropetalon, Parnassia). [Zhang & Simmons 2006 Syst Bot 31:122–137] Formerly included in Saxifragaceae. —Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.

Leaf: basal, blade ovate to reniform, entire, base tapered to cordate. Flower: petals white, with yellow, green or gray-brown lines.
± 70 species. (Mount Parnassus, Greece)
Unabridged references: [R.B. Phillips 1980, Ph.D. Dissertation, Univ of California, Berkeley]

Key to Parnassia

P. palustris L.
Leaf: 4–14 cm; blade 2–5 cm, lance-ovate, base tapered to cordate. Inflorescence: 15–47 cm; bract generally above scape middle (generally at or below middle in Sierra Nevada) [rarely above middle in North America outside California], elliptic. Flower: calyx lobes 3–11 mm, elliptic, entire, spreading in fruit; petals 8–20 mm, 1.5–2 × sepals, round-ovate, entire; staminodes 5–9 mm, lobes (7)9–27, thread-like, tips spheric; anthers 1.5–2.8 mm. Fruit: 8–12 mm.
2n=18,36[27,54]. Wet banks, meadows; < 3600 m. Klamath Ranges, Outer North Coast Ranges, High North Coast Ranges, High Cascade Range, High Sierra Nevada, San Francisco Bay Area, South Coast Ranges, San Bernardino Mountains, East of Sierra Nevada; to Alaska, eastern Canada; Eurasia. [Parnassia californica (A. Gray) Greene; Parnassia palustris var. californica A. Gray; Parnassia palustris var. montanensis (Fernald & Rydb. ex Rydb.) C.L. Hitchc.; Parnassia palustris var. neogaea Fernald] Jul–Oct [Online Interchange]

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Next taxon: Parnassia parviflora


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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 30 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Parnassia, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 30 2015

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click for enlargement Parnassia palustris
See CalPhotos for additional images
© 2006 Dr. Amadej Trnkoczy

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Parnassia palustris Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.