Parnassia palustris

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaSaxifragaceaeParnassiaParnassia palustris


A perennial, shortly rhizomatous herb of base-rich flushes in short grassland, mires, fens, dune-slacks and machair. The last two habitats support the coastal ecotype, var. condensata. 0-1005 m on Ben Lawers (Mid Perth).



World Distribution

Circumpolar Boreo-temperate element.

Broad Habitats

Fen, marsh and swamp (not wooded)

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 8

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 3


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 13.7

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1236

Life form information

Height (cm): 20

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1091

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 302

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: -0.84

Weighted Changed Factor: -12

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (140a)
The coastal ecodeme of Parnassia palustris L,
Gornall, R. J.
, Watsonia, Volume 17, p.139-143, (1988)

Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols,
Hultén, E., and Fries M.
, Königstein, (1986)

Parnassia palustris L. in Scandinavia,
Hultgård, U. M.
, Symbolae Botanicae Upsaliensis, Volume 28(1), p.1-128, (1987)

Jalas & Suominen (1999)
Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols,
Meusel, H., Jäger E., and Weinert E.
, Jena, (1965)

Cytogenetic evidence for autopolyploidy in Parnassia palustris,
Wentworth, J. E., and Gornall R. J.
, New Phytologist, Volume 134, p.641-648, (1996)