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Parnassia palustris

Higher Taxonomy
Family: ParnassiaceaeView Description 

Habit: 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.
Genera In Family: 2 genera, +- 70 species: northern temperate, low arctic, alpine, temp South America (Lepuropetalon, Parnassia). Note: Formerly included in Saxifragaceae.
eFlora Treatment Author: Peter W. Ball
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: ParnassiaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Leaf: basal, blade ovate to reniform, entire, base tapered to cordate. Flower: petals white, with yellow, green or gray-brown lines.
Species In Genus: +- 70 species. Etymology: (Mount Parnassus, Greece)

Parnassia 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 SN) [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. Chromosomes: 2n=18,36[27,54].
Ecology: Wet banks, meadows; Elevation: < 3600 m. Bioregional Distribution: KR, NCoRO, NCoRH, CaRH, SNH, SnFrB, SCoR, SnBr, SNE; Distribution Outside California: to Alaska, eastern Canada; Eurasia. Flowering Time: Jul--Oct
Synonyms: 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
eFlora Treatment Author: Peter W. Ball
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botanical illustration including Parnassia palustris


Citation for this treatment: Peter W. Ball 2016. Parnassia palustris, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 03, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 03, 2016.

Parnassia palustris
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© 2003 Christopher L. Christie
Parnassia palustris
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© 2009 Keir Morse
Parnassia palustris
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© 2006 George W. Hartwell
Parnassia palustris
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© 2006 George W. Hartwell
Parnassia palustris
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© 1995 Julie Kierstead Nelson
Parnassia palustris
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© 2009 Barry Rice

More photos of Parnassia palustris in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for 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.