The name comes from ancient Greece: evidently the cattle on Mount Parnassus appreciated the plant; hence it was an "honorary grass". The species epithet palustris is Latin for "of the marsh" and indicates its common habitat. It was described by the Greek physician Dioscorides, growing up a mountain in 1st century A.D.
It is not a grass, nor does it look like one, but grows from a short underground stem. It has long stemmed heart-shaped leaves, which are 4-12 in (10–30 cm) long. In the centre of the leaf, is the flowering stem. The stem holds a solitary white flower, blooming between July and October. The flower has 5 stamens around the centre. The flower produces a honey-like scent to attract pollinators.
Range and distribution
It was once used in herbal medicines, to treat disorders of the liver. Also an infusion of the leaves, (similar to a tea) was used to treat indigestion. When added to wine or water, the leaves are claimed to dissolve kidney stones.
- "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
- "Plants Profile — Parnassia palustris L., marsh grass of Parnassus". U.S. Department of Agriculture — Natural Resources Conservation Service. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
- "Cumberland Flag". Flag Institute. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
- "Grass-of-Parnassus". Plantlife. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
- Archibald William Smith A Gardener's Handbook of Plant Names: Their Meanings and Origins, p. 258, at Google Books
- Press, J. R.; Sutton, Dr D. A.; Tebbs, B. M. (1981). Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of Great Britain. London: The Reader's Digest. p. 155.
- Arne Anderberg. "Parnassia palustris L." Den Virtuella Floran. Naturhistoriska riksmuseet. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
- Media related to Parnassia palustris at Wikimedia Commons