Parnassia caroliniana - Michx.
Carolina Grass-of-Parnassus
Other Common Names: Carolina grass of Parnassus
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Parnassia caroliniana Michx. (TSN 24207)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.136440
Element Code: PDSAX0P020
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Saxifrage Family
Image 21709

© Alfred R. Schotz

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Rosales Saxifragaceae Parnassia
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Parnassia caroliniana
Taxonomic Comments: Distinct species though somewhat difficult to distinguish in the field.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 22Dec1997
Global Status Last Changed: 26Jun1995
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Over 80 element occurrences. Threats to habitat, primarily from timber production activities, are high; other threats include fire suppression, residential and commercial development, road expansion and vehicular activities. Sporadic distribution; it seems to have diminished in range.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Florida (S2), North Carolina (S2), South Carolina (S2)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: HISTORIC RANGE: There are no records, except for erroneous ones, for extant or extirpated occurrences of Parnassia caroliniana in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, or Virginia (Boyer 1991, Patrick 1993). In North Carolina, seven historical occurrences (year last seen follows in parentheses) from Bladen (1957), Columbus (1928, 1954, 1955, 1958), Harnett (1966), and Lee (1967) counties have a currently unknown or possibly extirpated status (NCNHP 1993). CURRENT RANGE: The range of P. caroliniana currently includes 12 counties in the southeastern Coastal Plain; eight in North Carolina, two in South Carolina, and two in Florida (Weakley 1993a). In North Carolina 28 currently extant occurrences are known from (number of occurrences follows in parentheses) Bladen (1), Brunswick (8), Columbus (4), Cumberland (3), Harnett (1), Hoke (3), Onslow (3), and Pender (5) counties (NCNHP 1993). In South Carolina, it is known from Georgetown (1) and Horry (1) counties; there is also an unofficial report from Richland County (Pittman 1991). In addition, P. caroliniana is currently known from a total of 47 occurrences in Franklin and Liberty counties in the Apalachicola Delta District of the Florida panhandle (Amoroso 1993). To summarize, there are three main areas of concentration: (1) Pender-Onslow counties, within a five-mile radius of Maple Hill, NC; (2) Brunswick-Columbus counties, NC; and (3) Apalachicola, FL (Weakley 1993a).

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: About 87 occurrences. In Florida, 32(?) of its 47 populations (as of October 1997) occur in the Apalachicola National Forest and the remaining are on paper company land. North Carolina has 33 populations, 14 of which are on land owned by timber or paper companies, eight are on privately owned land, five are on Fort Bragg Military Reservation, four are on North Carolina Nature Conservancy preserves, one is on National Park Service land, and one is on state-owned land. In South Carolina, five of its seven P. caroliniana populations occur on timber company land and the remaining two are on privately owned land.

Population Size Comments: Several South Carolina populations have more than 1000 individuals.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Because many high-quality occurrences of P. caroliniana are on timber lands, its primary threats are activities related to timber production (logging, bedding, ditching, and draining). While clear cutting and bedding (planting of seedlings) can physically destroy P. caroliniana, another serious threat is fire suppression, which leads to loss of habitat due to shrub and tree encroachment. In addition, ditching and draining alter the hydrology often making the soil too dry to support P. caroliniana. Other threats to P. caroliniana include residential and commercial development, especially in Horry County, South Carolina (Pittman 1991). In North Carolina, many lesser quality occurrences are along roadsides where vehicular activities, road maintenance, and road expansions threaten them (Weakley 1991).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: HISTORIC RANGE: There are no records, except for erroneous ones, for extant or extirpated occurrences of Parnassia caroliniana in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, or Virginia (Boyer 1991, Patrick 1993). In North Carolina, seven historical occurrences (year last seen follows in parentheses) from Bladen (1957), Columbus (1928, 1954, 1955, 1958), Harnett (1966), and Lee (1967) counties have a currently unknown or possibly extirpated status (NCNHP 1993). CURRENT RANGE: The range of P. caroliniana currently includes 12 counties in the southeastern Coastal Plain; eight in North Carolina, two in South Carolina, and two in Florida (Weakley 1993a). In North Carolina 28 currently extant occurrences are known from (number of occurrences follows in parentheses) Bladen (1), Brunswick (8), Columbus (4), Cumberland (3), Harnett (1), Hoke (3), Onslow (3), and Pender (5) counties (NCNHP 1993). In South Carolina, it is known from Georgetown (1) and Horry (1) counties; there is also an unofficial report from Richland County (Pittman 1991). In addition, P. caroliniana is currently known from a total of 47 occurrences in Franklin and Liberty counties in the Apalachicola Delta District of the Florida panhandle (Amoroso 1993). To summarize, there are three main areas of concentration: (1) Pender-Onslow counties, within a five-mile radius of Maple Hill, NC; (2) Brunswick-Columbus counties, NC; and (3) Apalachicola, FL (Weakley 1993a).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States FL, NC, SC

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
FL Franklin (12037), Liberty (12077)
NC Bladen (37017), Brunswick (37019), Columbus (37047), Cumberland (37051), Harnett (37085), Hoke (37093), Lee (37105)*, Onslow (37133), Pender (37141), Scotland (37165)
SC Georgetown (45043), Horry (45051)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Upper Cape Fear (03030004)+, Lower Cape Fear (03030005)+*, Black (03030006)+, Northeast Cape Fear (03030007)+, Lumber (03040203)+, Little Pee Dee (03040204)+, Black (03040205)+, Waccamaw (03040206)+, Carolina Coastal-Sampit (03040207)+, Coastal Carolina (03040208)+, Apalachicola (03130011)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A glabrous rhizomatous, perennial herb 1-6.5 dm tall. Basal leaves usually ovate; blades 2-6 cm long and wide. Sepals 3-5 mm long; petals not clawed, 15-20 mm long, main veins 9-19. Stamens shorter than staminodia, staminodial glands elongate, apiculate. Ovary broadly ellipsoid, about 9 mm long at anthesis.
Technical Description: A glabrous, rhizomatous, perennial herb, 1-6.5 dm tall. Leaves to 3 dm long, primarily basal, entire, long petiolate, with 7-11 main veins; blades suborbicular to broadly ovate, 2-9 cm long and wide, widest part slightly below the middle; lamina decurrent along petiole; bases cuneate to subcordate, base and lower petiole margins entire to slightly red fimbriate. Cauline leaves usually solitary, borne below midpoint on flowering stem, similar to basal leaves yet smaller and usually cordate with a clasping base. Flowering stems angled, with a single bract 0.9-4.0 cm long with 5-11 veins; bract base truncate to slightly cordate, margins red fimbriate. Flowers solitary on elongate peduncles, perfect, regular; calyx lobes 4-6 mm long, 1/3-2/3 as wide, oblong, apex rounded to obtuse, 5 or 7 veins, margins entire, sometimes slightly hyaline. Sepals 5, slightly united at base, green tinged with white, 3-5 mm long, persistent. Petals 5, white tinged with green or yellow along veins, sessile, 1.2-2.2 cm long, 1/2-3/4 as wide, veins conspicuous, 15-30 major veins, lower veins branched near the margin, margins entire. Stamens 5, anthers yellow, apex obtuse; staminodia 5, white, longer than the stamens, 0.9-1.6 cm long, deeply 3-parted, apical glands elongate; filament apices globose attenuate. Stigmas 4, sessile; style absent or very short; ovary superior, ovoid to broadly ellipsoid, white, 4 carpels, 1-locular, many ovulate, placentation parietal. Capsules 0.7-1.3 cm long, ovate, subtended by the spreading calyx lobes. Usually deciduous in fruit, but sometimes marcescent.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Three species of Parnassia can be found in the southeastern U.S.: P. asarifolia, P. caroliniana, and P. grandifolia. P. asarifolia occurs in the mountains, has clawed petals, reniform basal leaves, and stamens exceeding the staminoida. P. caroliniana and P. grandifolia do not have clawed petals and have round leaves and stamens shorter than the staminodia. P. grandifolia has a short, erect rhizome or rootstock and elliptic petals with 5-9 veins, whereas P. caroliniana has a long, creeping, horizontal rhizome and oval petals with 11-33 veins.
Duration: PERENNIAL
Reproduction Comments: The nectar-producing staminodia of P. caroliniana are most likely visited by insects (flies and beetles). It has been speculated that most populations are maintained asexually by rhizomes, as are many other fire-adapted savanna plant species.
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, FORESTED WETLAND
Habitat Comments: Parnassia caroliniana is considered a perennial, ecotone species. It grows primarily in fire-maintained, sandy-soiled savannas and pine flatwoods of the southeastern Coastal Plain. P. caroliniana prefers low, permanently moist drainages in open, herb-dominated grasslands including bogs, flatwoods, and savannas.

It has been found in the following habitats: recently burned savannas, overgrown-shrubby savannas, pocosin/savanna ecotones, savanna/hardwood swamp ecotones, pine flatwood/swamp ecotones, firebreaks, powerline rights-of-way, Atlantic white cedar swamps, Sandhill seeps, and Streamhead Pocosins (NCNHP 1993). Sandhill Seeps are areas dominated by Sphagnum, shrubs and herbs, occurring in relatively steep places where local clay soils force seepage water to the surface. In the Outer Coastal Plain, P. caroliniana appears to prefer calcareous substrates with a large sand fraction and some peat content (Boyer 1991). In other areas, such as the North Carolina Sandhills region, it has been found growing in sandy-clay soils and deep-peat sand soils. According to Boyer (1991), examples of soil types found at occurrence sites include: "Foreston fine sandy loam or loamy fine sand (Aquic Paleudults); Woodington fine sandy loam (Typic Paleaquults); Grifton loamy fine sand (Typic Ochraqualfs); Stallings sandy loam (Aeric Paleaquults); and Johns fine sandy loam (Aquic Hapludults)." On Fort Bragg, it has been found on Blaney (Arenic Hapludults), Candor (Arenic Paleudults), and Norfolk (Typic Paleudults) soil series (Hudson 1984, Barnhill 1986, TNC 1991-93, NCNHP 1993). Boyer (1991) reported that "P. caroliniana is always associated with pines either (most commonly) longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) or slash pine (P. elliottii), the latter often in pine plantations." Other associated species include: Andropogon virginicus, A. glomeratus, Aristida stricta, Arundinaria tecta, Centella asiatica, Ctenium aromaticum, Dichromena sp., Erigeron vernus, Eryngium integrifolium, Eupatorium rotundifolium, E. leucolepis, E. pilosum, Fothergilla gardenii, Gaylussacia frondosa, Gentiana pennelliana, Helenium pinnatifidum, Ilex glabra, Lyonia lucida, Pinus serotina, Platanthera ciliaris, P. cristata, Pteridium aquilinum, Ptilimnium capillaceum, Pycnanthemum flexuosum, Rhexia alifanus, Sarracenia flava, S. purpurea, Taxodium ascendens, Vaccinium crassifolium, and Woodwardia areolata. In North Carolina, it is sometimes also associated with the following rare plant taxa: Agalinis aphylla, Allium sp. 1, Calamovilfa brevipilis, Dionaea muscipula, Lycopus cokeri, Lysimachia asperulifolia, Oxypolis ternata, Platanthera integra, Rhynchospora oligantha, Sarracenia minor, Solidago verna, Thalictrum cooleyi, and Tofieldia glabra (NCNHP 1993).

Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 16Dec1993
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Mary J. Russo
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 27Jul1992

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2016. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 12. Magnoliophyta: Vitaceae to Garryaceae. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxiv + 603 pp.

  • Godfrey, R.K., and J.W. Wooten. 1981. Aquatic and wetland plants of southeastern United States: Dicotyledons. Univ. Georgia Press, Athens. 933 pp.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Radford, A.E., H.E. Ahles, and C.R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Univ. North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 1183 pp.

  • The Nature Conservancy. 1993. Rare and endangered plant survey and natural area inventory of Fort Bragg and Camp MacKall military reservations, North Carolina. Final report by The Nature Conservancy, Sandhills Field Office, December 1993.

  • Weakley, A. S., compiler. 1993. Natural Heritage Program list of the rare plant species of North Carolina. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program. Raleigh. 79 pp.

  • Weakley, A.S. 1993. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program list of the rare plant species of North Carolina. Draft North Carolina Natural Heritage Program list of the watch list plant species. Natural Heritage Program, North Carolina Dept. Environment, Health and Natural Resources, Raleigh.

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