Grass-of-Parnassus

©Philip Precey

Grass-of-parnassus

Scientific name: Parnassia palustris
The stately Grass-of-parnassus displays pretty, white flowers with green stripes. Once widespread, it is now declining as its wetland habitats are disappearing.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 25cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

June to September

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 its cup-shaped flower. Once widely distributed, it is now confined to 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

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.

Distribution

Mainly found in Scotland, Northern England and Ireland.

Did you know?

Grass-of-parnassus, also known as 'Bog-star', is the county flower of both Cumbria in England, and Sutherland in Scotland.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.