Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Largeleaf Grass-of-Parnassus - Parnassia grandifolia   de Candolle
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Section 6 » Order Rosales » Family Parnassiaceae
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Authorde Candolle
DistributionScattered over the mountains, with collections for only about half of the counties. Known for a few sites in the southeastern Coastal Plain, along the Cape Fear River.

This species has a very disjunct range, with many local population areas. It is a Southern species ranging north to western VA and southern MO, and south to northern FL and eastern TX.
AbundanceRare and local in the mountains, and extremely rare in the southeastern Coastal Plain. This is a State Threatened species.
HabitatThe species has fairly restricted habitats. It occurs mainly over mafic rocks in the mountains, such as over amphibolite. Sites are damp to wet, such as fens, gravelly seepages, and rarely in bogs. Near the coast, the populations are in seepages on steep bluffs, over marl rock.
PhenologyBlooms in September and October, and fruits soon after flowering.
IdentificationThis species is similar to the other two Parnassia species -- a cluster of basal leaves on long petioles, with blades that are shiny, thick, and dark green. Each blade is ovate to orbicular, about 2" long and about as wide, with a rounded tip. Several flowering stalks grow from the middle of the rosette, each reaching about 1.5' tall, topped by a single flower. Each flower is white with green veins, 5 ovate petals that are not clawed, and a spread of about 1.5". The other montane species -- P. asarifolia -- has reniform leaves that are wider than long, and the petals are clawed. P. caroliniana occurs in the same two counties -- Columbus and Brunswick -- where P. grandifolia grows, but that species has 11-17 green veins per petal as opposed to 5-9 in P. grandifolia, a white ovary versus a green ovary in P. grandifolia, and grows in savannas and pineland seeps, as opposed to near-vertical bluffs.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Bigleaf Grass-of-Parnassus, Limesink Parnassia
State RankS2
Global RankG3
State StatusT
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