Parnassia palustris
Marsh grass-of-parnassus

Photo by Emmet J. Judziewicz 

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Key Characteristics

Small forb (10-40 cm) of swamps in the Upper Peninsula; leaves almost all basal, long-petioled, with small rounded, heart-shaped blades (1-3 cm); flowers white with five veined petals, each about 1 cm long.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: T - Threatened (legally protected)
  • State Rank: S2 - Imperiled
  • Global Rank: G5 - Secure


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Map Distribution Alcona Alger Allegan Alpena Antrim Arenac Baraga Barry Bay Benzie Berrien Branch Calhoun Cass Charlevoix Cheboygan Chippewa Clare Clinton Crawford Delta Dickinson Eaton Emmet Genesee Gladwin Gogebic Grand_Traverse Gratiot Hillsdale Houghton Huron Ingham Ionia Iosco Iron Isabella Jackson Kalamazoo Kalkaska Kent Keweenaw Lake Lapeer Leelanau Lenawee Livingston Luce Mackinac Macomb Manistee Marquette Mason Mecosta Menominee Midland Missaukee Monroe Montcalm Montmorency Muskegon Oakland Oceana Ogemaw Ontonagon Osceola Oscoda Otsego Ottawa Presque_Isle Roscommon Saginaw St__Clair St__Joseph Sanilac Schoolcraft Shiawassee Tuscola Van_Buren Washtenaw Wayne Wexford

Updated 4/16/2014. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Marsh grass-of-parnassus is found in northern white cedar swamps and alkaline habitats such as meadows and damp calcareous sands on lakeshores in the Upper Peninsula.

Natural Community Types

Associated Plants

Sweet gale, bog buckbean, marsh cinquefoil, pitcher-plant, sundew, and leatherleaf.


This plant requires the protection hydrology and its wetland habitat.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgment of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Aug 22, 2014]

More Information

See MNFI Species Abstract


Survey References

Technical References