Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Baldwin's Nailwort - Paronychia baldwinii   (Torrey & A. Gray) Fenzl ex Walpers
Members of Caryophyllaceae:
Members of Paronychia with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Caryophyllales » Family Caryophyllaceae
Author(Torrey & A. Gray) Fenzl ex Walpers
DistributionMainly coastal, from Dare County to the SC state line. Very scattered inland in the Coastal Plain, to Edgecombe, Johnston, Sampson, and Bladen counties.

This is a Coastal Plain species, occurring from southeastern VA south to central FL and west to AL.
AbundanceUncommon to infrequent on barrier islands, but very rare farther inland, away from coastal areas.
HabitatThis species grows only in moderate to deep sands, mainly in coastal sandy areas behind dunes, around the margins of, or opening within, maritime forests and shrub stands, and other sandy clearings. Farther inland, it grows in sand barrens and in open sandy woods, rarely on roadsides (Sampson County in 2021).
See also Habitat Account for Xeric-Mesic Sand Barrens and Glades
PhenologyBlooms from June to October, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a very weak and slender herb, trailing along the ground, though often reaching 1.5-2 feet long and not forming mats or thick stands. It has numerous pairs of small opposite leaves, each being narrowly elliptic, only about 2/3-inch long and 1/10-inch wide, with entire margins. Each plant has several very long and slender flowering branches, tipped by numerous tiny flowers, with no petals. The small sepals have white margins, giving each flower a whitish color. This species should be obvious by its very slender trailing appearance of narrow leaves and long flowering stalks with very small flowers, growing on xeric sands.
Taxonomic CommentsFormerly named as Paronychia riparia, a misleading name, as it is a species of sand dunes and sand barrens and not a riverside species.

Other Common Name(s)Dune Whitlow-wort
State RankS2S3
Global RankG4
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