Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Silvery Nailwort - Paronychia argyrocoma   (Michaux) Nuttall
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(Michaux) Nuttall
DistributionPresent over the northern and central Mountains, south only to Haywood and Transylvania counties. Occurs in several Piedmont foothills ranges (on monadnocks).

This is an Appalachian endemic species, ranging from ME to northern GA and northeastern AL, though no records known for NY and PA.
AbundanceFairly common in the Mountains, though in limited habitats (higher elevation rock outcrops). Rare to locally uncommon in the western Piedmont.
HabitatThis is a characteristic species of high to mid-elevation exposed outcrops, mostly over 3000 feet. It occurs on many different rock types, and on both domes and on rocky summits -- in thin soils around the margins of the rocks.
See also Habitat Account for Montane Rock Barrens
PhenologyBlooms from July to September, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a decumbent species with a woody taproot. It has numerous short branches, with opposite leaves, each being linear and about 2/3-inch long. Of most significance, the color is quite gray or glaucous. At the tips of the branches grow a dense cluster of small flowers, mostly hidden by silver to white-colored bracts. The petals are absent, and sepals are small. Thus, in this species, the "flowers" look fuzzy and woolly white. This species normally is easily identified by its mat-forming habit, with numerous opposite and narrow leaves, and the fluffy look to the flowers, created mostly by the bracts.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Silverling (the common name used for a woody shrub -- Baccharis glomeruliflora), Silver Whitlow-wort
State RankS3
Global RankG4
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