Fringed grass of parnassus
The Rocky Mountain states, the northern Great Basin and the northeast
Between 3 and 15 inches
Moist locations in mountains
Round or heart-shaped, on long stalks, up to 2 inches across
July to September
Parnassia fimbriata is an attractive plant, with bright green, smooth-edged leaves and unbranched stalks topped by a single flower, consisting of five pure white petals prominently fringed along the sides, and with a thin, dark, branched vein running lengthwise. There are five green sepals underneath, visible from above between the petals, and also five stamens pointing outwards in between which are five shorter staminodes (infertile stamens) topped by small, green to yellow-brown glands, all centered on a protruding green pistil. One plant can produce many dozen flowers.
Leaves are mostly basal; they are quite thick, rounded in shape and usually folded up along the axis. After flowering, the pistil expands to form the green, ten-chambered fruit. The species inhabits moist places in mountains, especially along streams, canyons and lakeshores.