Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Smooth Forked Nailwort - Paronychia canadensis   (L.) A. Wood
Members of Caryophyllaceae:
Members of Paronychia with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Caryophyllales » Family Caryophyllaceae
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Author(L.) A. Wood
DistributionThroughout the Mountains; sparingly east into the western Piedmont, with disjunct records east to Person and Durham counties.

This is a widespread species of the Northeastern and Central states, ranging from NH and MN south to northern GA and OK.
AbundanceFairly common to frequent in the Mountains. Rare to very locally uncommon on western Piedmont monadnocks, but very rare well into the Piedmont.
HabitatThis is a species of dry soils, usually in rocky places or xeric soil. It grows in openings in upland woods, around rock outcrops, and in other partly shaded and dry sites, often in hilly ground of slopes.
PhenologyBlooms from June to October, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis one of several species in the genus Paronychia that is quite small, has almost "un-noticeable" flowers, and draws little attention from biologists for collecting or even observation. It is a smooth species with a very slender and somewhat erect to leaning stem, branched, and reaching about 6-8 inches tall on average. It has numerous pairs of small, elliptical leaves, rather thin in texture, and about 3/4-1-inch long and 1/3 as wide, with entire margins. It has a wide-branching inflorescence, with numerous very small flowers in the axils on these smaller branches. The flowers, with no petals, have sepals with white margins, giving at least a hint of white to the tiny flowers. Identify the species from others by its glabrous stem and leaves -- P. fastigiata is pubescent); the elliptical leaves (that species has narrower and oblanceolate leaves); and leaves thin in texture (as opposed the thick in P. fastigiata). As mentioned above, both of these species are small and rather insignificant in appearance, not catching your attention, though neither is scarce.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Canada Whitlow-wort, Forked Chickweed, Smooth Forked Whitlow-wort
State RankS4? [S3S4]
Global RankG5
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