E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Parnassia parviflora DC.
small-flowered grass-of-Parnassus
Celastraceae (Bittersweet family)
(Previously in Parnassiaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Stephanie Louie  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #17312)

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Distribution of Parnassia parviflora
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a short rootstock and fibrous root; stems ascending to erect, usually solitary, simple, 10-30 cm tall.
Basal leaves egg-shaped to elliptic, 1-2.5 cm long, tapered basally, entire, the stalks from subequal to 3 times longer than the blade; stem leaves solitary, reduced, lanceolate, 0.7-1.8 cm long, located below midlength.
Inflorescence of single terminal flowers; petals 5, white, 4-7 (10) mm long, usually 5-veined, outer veins less conspicuous than the inner ones; sterile stamens with a thickened base flared upwards and divided into 7 slender segments.
Capsules, egg-shaped, 7-11 mm long; seeds numerous.
This species might better be treated as a smaller-flowered variety of P. palustris.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet meadows, streambanks, fens and bogs in the montane zone; infrequent in E BC, rare northward; N to SE AK, E to NF and S to WI, SD, ID and MT.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Parnassia parviflora

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 807 1003 1200
Slope Gradient (%) 0 1 3
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
335 335 335
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 6 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: IDF(1), SBPS(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Parnassia palustris var. parviflora (DC.) B. Boivin
Parnassia parviflora subsp. parviflora

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References