Paronychia fastigiata (Raf.) Fern.

Paronychia fastigiata plant

Family - Carophyllaceae

Stems - To 30cm tall, erect, from taproot, herbaceous, dichotomously branching, with retrorsely bent pubescence.

Leaves - Opposite, sessile, stipulate, decussate. Blades oblong to linear-oblong or linear-oblanceolate, to 2.5cm long, +/-6mm broad, entire but with minute antrorse prickles on the margins, glabrous or with a few minute arachnoid hairs abaxially, acute. Stipules scarious, attenuate, to 4mm long, exceeding the fruits.

Paronychia fastigiata leavesPressed leaves.

Inflorescence - Single sessile flowers from the axils of the branches.

Flowers - Apetalous. Calyx green, accrescent. Sepals to 1.3mm long, to .4mm broad, cupped and short-pointed at apex, entire, glabrous or with a few sparse hairs near base. Stamens 2, to .5mm long. Filaments glabrous, greenish. Anthers greenish, -.1mm broad. Styles 2, to .2mm long, green, glabrous. Ovary superior, green, glabrous, to .2mm long, .1mm in diameter, subglobose. Fruit an inflated capsule, 1-seeded, to .8mm in diameter, surrounded by persistent calyx.

Paronychia fastigiata flowerFlower.

Paronychia fastigiata fruitFruit.

Flowering - May - October.

Habitat - Waste ground, rocky open ground, dry open woods.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This tiny species is found throughout Missouri but is often overlooked because of its small size. The plant is not striking and is often seen as nothing more than a weed. P. fastigiata prefers acidic, dry soils.

Photographs taken at the Current River Conservation Area, Reynolds County, MO., 6-27-01.


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