Fringed Grass-of-Parnassus – Parnassia fimbriata

Bittersweet Family – Celastraceae

Grass of parnassus

Actual flower size:  1 inch across

Plant Description: Fringed Grass-of-Parnassus has one or more 6 to 18-inch stems standing well above a clump of shiny, broad, untoothed, round or heart-shaped leaves with long smooth petioles. The whole plant is hairless. There is a single flower at the top and one small, clasping leaf about half way up each stem.

Flower DescriptionThe 1-inch flowers are very showy. The 5 sepals are joined at their bases, forming a saucer-shaped calyx. The 5 long, spreading, white, oval petals are wider at the tip and have conspicuous veins and a row of fleshy hairs along the base. There are two sets of stamen: 5 short, thick, sterile stamen with 5 to 9 glistening green, yellow or orange knobs and 5 fertile stamen with large anthers.  The pistil is large with a 4-part stigma.

Ecology: Fringed Grass-or-Parnassus grows in wet places, bogs, and small streams at middle to alpine elevations.


  • The leaves of Grass-of-Parnassus are not at all grass-like. “Grass-of-Parnassus” is an old name from a time when grass simply meant plant.
  • Until 2003, Parnassia was included in the Saxifrage Family. See note on Bittersweet Family page.

 Fringed Grass-of Parnassus Gallery

Photo Information:

#0151-0250: August 30, 2007, Cascade Pass, Hwy 20, Marblemount

#0250 August 27, 2001, Commonwealth Basin, I-90. Exit 52, Snoqualmie Pass

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