Grass-of-Parnassus flowering at the Wet Prairie!

When you wander around a natural area, you never know what you’ll find. I inspected the Paint Creek Heritage Area – Wet Prairie many times this summer looking for cool plants. Some of them escaped me until they started flowering, including Grass-of-Parnassus (Parnassia glauca). The small leaves often hide among the other plants, but its striking flowers jump out!

Parnassia glauca, Grass-of-Parnassus, has beautiful flowers with cool vasculature on the petals.
Parnassia glauca, Grass-of-Parnassus, has beautiful flowers with cool vasculature on the petals.
A little bit different look at the Grass-of-Parnassus.
A little bit different look at the Grass-of-Parnassus.

We have three species of Parnassia in Michigan: P. glauca, P.  palustris, and P. parviflora. The species in our wet prairie, P. glauca, is the most common of the three and is found across the state in various types of wetlands. Its thick, leathery leaves and larger petals distinguish it from the other two species. If you want to find P. palustris or P. parviflora, you’ll need to visit the area near the Mackinaw Bridge and the Upper Peninsula.

If you see this cool plant at the Wet Prairie, please just take pictures and leave the flowers for everyone else to enjoy!

About Ben VanderWeide

I am the Natural Areas Stewardship Manager for Oakland Township Parks and Recreation in southeast Michigan. I have a doctorate in biology (focused on plant ecology) and I am passionate about protecting and managing natural areas.

3 thoughts on “Grass-of-Parnassus flowering at the Wet Prairie!

    1. We can’t protect it unless we know it is there! I enjoy discovering these cool plants in our parks and sharing them with everyone. The plants are scattered throughout the open portion of the wet prairie.

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