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Family: Parnassiaceae — grass of parnassus family

The Parnassiaceae family contains only one species in our region. It is a perennial herb with leaves that grow in a rosette around the base of the stem. The leaves have long petioles and are simple. The veins spread outward from a common point at the base of the blade. The single flower grows on a long stalk and is actinomorphic (radially symmetrical) with both pollen-bearing and ovule-bearing parts. There are 5 sepals, 5 strongly veined petals, 5 fertile stamens and 5 sterile staminodes that are each divided into 3 or more appendages; these parts attach beneath the ovary (i.e., the ovary is superior). There is 1 style and 4 stigmas. The fruit is a dry capsule that opens by 4 valves to release many small, winged seeds. Species in this family were formerly considered to be part of the Saxifragaceae.

This family’s genera in New England

Visit this family in the Dichotomous Key