An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Grass of Parnassus Flowering

e-grass of Parnassus 008Grass of Parnassus, Parnassia glauca, (also known as Bog- Star) was named after Mount Parnassus in central Greece. It is not a type of grass, but rather, belongs to the family Celastraceae and can be found growing in fens, bogs and swamps. The striking green lines on its petals guide flies, bees and other pollinating insects to the flower’s supply of nectar.

The structure of Grass of Parnassus’s flower is not typical. In between its five functioning stamens and five petals there is a whorl of five sterile stamens, each of which is three-pronged. The spherical tip of each prong mimics a glistening droplet of nectar. These stamens do not actually produce any nectar – they are there purely to attract pollinators. The actual nectar is located near the base of these false, or sterile, stamens. Only one of the five true stamens in the flower is active at any one time, with each producing pollen on average once every 24 hours.

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5 responses

  1. Gorgeous picture of a little plant easily overlooked, thank you!

    August 26, 2015 at 6:59 am

  2. Thank you, Mary, for explaining to me /us that every piece of the artistic geometric beauty of flowers is there for a purpose! Pollination! Isn’t nature magical? Constructively artistic. Wow!! Onward!

    August 26, 2015 at 8:38 am

  3. Louise

    What is the diameter of the flower, and where might I find it in southeastern VT?

    August 26, 2015 at 10:51 am

    • It’s roughly an inch in diameter, and I’d look in any fens you know of, as well as wet meadows, Louise.

      August 27, 2015 at 7:34 am

  4. Susan Harvey

    WOW…….lots of news and have to re-read tomorrow as I just got back from Colorado. Date: Wed, 26 Aug 2015 09:46:06 +0000 To:

    September 1, 2015 at 6:40 pm

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