Montana Outdoors

September 17, 2010

A grass that isn’t a grass

There is a wildflower that I have admired for years, having seen it only in photos until about a month ago when I passed by Goat Lakes on the trail to Mount Silcox in the Cube Iron – Silcox roadless area and found it growing just by the edge of Goat Creek where the creek exits the lower lake.

Nearly two thousand years ago, a Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist by the name of Pedanius Dioscorides described a grass-like plant he observed growing on Mount Parnassus. Later, when the Greek description was translated, someone made a mistake and gave the “Parnassia” name to a species that is not even remotely grass-like; Parnassia fimbriata, Fringed Grass-of-Parnassus. However, a beautiful wildflower by any other name is still a beautiful wildflower (my apologies to Mr. S.) and I think this one is a real beauty.

Fringed Grass-of-Parnassus

Fringed Grass-of-Parnassus

(A little later I will post a series of photos of the whole trek to Mount Silcox.)

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