“˜Pale star that by the lochs of Galloway,
In wet green places ‘twixt the depth and height
Dost keep thine hour while Autumn ebbs away,
When now the moors have doffed the heather bright,
Grass of Parnassus, flower of my delight…’
Andrew Lang’s poem “˜Grass of Parnassus’ puts the merits of this genus rather well, I think, and I shall not attempt to add to it.
P. grandifolia grows in alkaline seeps in the SE USA and, where it occurs, it is an indicator of rich, old forest. It has large, bright white flowers veined green and with bright orange anthers These are borne in profusion in October and November. The glossy, bright green leaves, reminiscent of Asarum europaeum, provide a good foil for the flowers. I have seen it growing alongside Trautvetteria sp. nov. in Tennessee and this is a fine combination to emulate in gardens.