Grass-of-Parnassus

Parnassia palustris

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About

Grass-of-Parnassus isn't actually a grass, instead getting its common name from the translucent green stripes that adorn the white petals of this cup-shaped flower. Once widely distributed, it is now confined to the damp pastures, moors and marshes mainly in the north of the UK, but can still be found in the Norfolk Broads and fens and also in localised patches in the south. It flowers between June and September.

How to identify

The stately Grass-of-Parnassus has open, ivory-white flowers held on long stems. The five petals are delicately striped with green and enclose a cluster of yellow stamens. Around the base of the flower, the dark green, heart-shaped leaves can be seen cupping the stems.

Where to find it

Grows predominantly in Scotland, northern England and Ireland.

Habitats

When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

Human activity, including the drainage of land for agriculture and development, has resulted in the disappearance of many of the UK's wetlands. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with planners, developers and farmers to ensure our wetlands are protected and managed for the benefit of the plants and animals they hold, including Grass-of-Parnassus. We have a vision of a 'Living Landscape': a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Grass-of-Parnassus
Latin name
Parnassia palustris
Category
Wildflowers
Statistics
Height: up to 25cm
Conservation status
Common.