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Parnassia caroliniana Michaux. Savanna Parnassia, Carolina Grass-of-Parnassus, Eyebright. Phen: Sep-Nov (-Dec). Hab: Wet longleaf pine, pond pine, or pond cypress savannas (especially but not strictly where shallowly underlain by coquina limestone), sandhill seepage bogs. Dist: Se. and sc. NC south through SC; disjunct in the Panhandle of FL, the distribution (at least now) fragmented and disjunct. In NC, locally common in three small areas, centered around Maple Hill (Pender and Onslow counties), Old Dock (Columbus and Brunswick counties), and the Green Swamp (Brunswick County).

Origin/Endemic status: Endemic

Other Comments: Following Michaux's discovery of the species it was apparently not reported again in the Carolinas until found by H.A. Rankin near Hallsboro. His comments, quoted in Alexander (1934) are interesting. "What if our savannas are sometimes steaming, it is the condition necessary for the development for many wonderful plants which find here their most congenial surroundings. But Grass-of-Parnassus does not star the meadows during the steaming season, instead, by local tradition, the ‘Eyebright’, its local name, times its first flowers to come just two weeks before frost … As a matter of fact, I saw the first flowers this year on October 12th and our first frost came the morning of the 25th. Its chosen habitat is the wet savannas and hundreds of acres may be seen liberally dotted with its white stars, but it finds its best development in the lower places, and here it often almost covers the ground. Today, Nov 1st, it is in its prime and is the most conspicuous flower on many acres and in one little depression less than two feet in diameter I counted seventy-two flowers and buds." With the extensive destruction of our wet savannas (by conversion to pine tree farms, agriculture, and developed areas) and fire suppression, very few such places now remain.

Synonymy: = FNA12, GW2, K1, K3, K4, RAB, S, WH3, Alexander (1934a)

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image of plant© Floyd A. Griffith | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Bruce Sorrie
image of plant© Alan Cressler: Parnassia caroliniana, Shoestring Prairie, Green Swamp, Green Swamp Ecological Preserve, Brunswick County, North Carolina 4 by Alan Cressler source | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Alan Cressler: Parnassia caroliniana, Shoestring Prairie, Green Swamp, Green Swamp Ecological Preserve, Brunswick County, North Carolina 2 by Alan Cressler source | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Bruce Sorrie
image of plant© Bruce Sorrie

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