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

Parnassia fimbriata K.D. Koenig
fringed grass-of-Parnassus (fringed grass of Parnassus)
Celastraceae (Bittersweet family)
(Previously in Parnassiaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ian Gardiner  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #24331)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Parnassia fimbriata
Click here to view our interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Perennial herb from a short, stout rootstock and fibrous root; stems ascending to erect, solitary to several, 15-30 (50) cm tall.
Basal leaves kidney-shaped, heart-shaped at the base, wider than long, 2-4 cm wide, entire, glossy green, the stalks 3-10 cm long; stem leaves solitary, reduced, unstalked, clasping, located near midlength on the stem.
Inflorescence of single, erect, terminal flowers on leafless stalks; petals 5, white, fringed or comb-like on the lower half, 5- to 7-veined, 8-12 mm long; calyces lobed nearly to the base, the lobes oblong, half as long as the petals; sterile stamens thickened and scalelike, with 7-9 marginal lobes and a central larger lobe, sometimes with 5-many elongate, club-shaped segments.
Capsules, egg-shaped, 1 cm long; seeds angled, numerous.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Summer
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet meadows, streambanks, fens, bogs and open seepage sites in forests in the lowland and montane to alpine zones; common throughout BC; N to AK, YT and NT, E to SW AB and S to NM and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Parnassia fimbriata

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) 8 1520 2468
Slope Gradient (%) 0 17 420
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 344 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 5 8
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: AT(14), BAFA(35), BWBS(17), CMA(2), CWH(20), ESSF(684), ICH(56), IDF(19), IMA(4), MH(67), MS(89), SBS(33), SWB(28)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-intolerant, montane to alpine, Western North American forb distributed equally in the Pacific and Cordilleran regions. Occurs in boreal and cool temperate climates on very moist to wet, calcium-rich and nitrogen-rich soils. Common in open-canopy, high-elevation forests, subalpine meadows on water-receiving sites; occasional on water-collecting sites (fens and swamps). Characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


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 montane boreal & cool temperate.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Parnassia fimbriata var. fimbriata K.D. Koenig

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References