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Ronald L. Hartman & Richard K. Rabeler, except as noted

Annual to perennial herb; rarely dioecious (Silene), taprooted or rhizome generally slender. Leaf: simple, generally opposite (subwhorled), entire, pairs at nodes often ± connected at bases; stipules generally 0; petiole generally 0. Inflorescence: generally cyme, generally open; flowers 1–many; involucre generally 0 (present in Dianthus, Petrorhagia). Flower: generally bisexual, radial; hypanthium often present but obscure; sepals (4)5, ± free or fused into a tube, margins generally scarious, more so on inner 2 or not, tube generally not scarious, awns generally 0; petals (4)5 or 0, generally tapered to base (or with claw long, limb expanded), entire to 2–several-lobed, limb generally without scale-like appendages adaxially, generally without ear-like lobes at base; stamens generally 10, generally fertile, generally free, generally from ovary base; nectaries 0 or 5; ovary superior, generally 1-chambered, placentas basal or free-central, styles 2–5 with 0 branches or 1 with 2–3 branches. Fruit: capsule or utricle (rarely ± dehiscent), generally sessile. Seed: appendage generally 0 (present in Moehringia).
83 or 89 genera, 3000 species: widespread, especially arctic, alpine, temperate northern hemisphere; some cultivated (Agrostemma, Arenaria, Cerastium, Dianthus, Gypsophila, Lychnis, Sagina, Saponaria, Silene, Vaccaria). [Rabeler & Hartman 2005 FNANM 5:3–215] Apetalous Caryophyllaceae can also be keyed in Rabeler & Hartman 2005 FNANM 5:5–8. —Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.

Key to Caryophyllaceae

Annual, perennial herb, erect or ± prostrate, taprooted. Leaf: stipules 1–6 mm, lanceolate to ovate, scarious, ± entire, white; blade elliptic to oblanceolate; vein ± 1. Inflorescence: axillary, dense; flowers 1–12; pedicels 0–2 mm. Flower: hypanthium cup-shaped; calyx abruptly expanded above or not; sepals 5, free, 0.7–4.4 mm (except awn), lanceolate to ovate, ± hairy, margin narrow, white, scarious, erect or recurved adaxially at tip (awn then appearing at tip); awn abaxial, subterminal, 0.5–1.5 mm, thread-like to ± stout, straight to wavy; petals 0; fertile stamens 5, staminodes 0 or 5, 0.5–1 mm, thread-like, on hypanthium rim; styles 2 or 2-branched in upper 1/2, 0.2–0.5 mm. Fruit: utricle, ovoid to spheric. Seed: 1, brown.
110 species: North America, South America, Eurasia, Africa. (Greek: inflammation of finger, especially under nail [whitlow], ailment plant was believed to cure) [Hartman et al. 2005 FNANM 5:30–43]

Key to Paronychia

Annual, inconspicuous, ± spheric; taproot < 1 mm diam. Stem: ± erect, 0.5–1.2 cm, ± hidden by leaves. Leaf: stipules 3–6 mm; blade 2–7.5 mm, ± narrowly oblanceolate, smooth, green; tip a bristle; margin, midrib scabrous. Flower: 1, axillary, 4.2–5 mm; hairs ± dense, on lower 1/2, 0.3–0.6 mm, tightly coiled at tip; sepals 3.8–4.4 mm (except awn), ± lanceolate, margin scarious, 0.5–2 mm wide, tip erect, awn 1.5–2 mm, thread-like, wavy, ± spreading; staminodes ± 1 mm. Seed: ± 1.3 mm, lenticular.
Well-drained, rocky outcrops, often vernal pool edges, volcanic upland; < 500 m. Cascade Range Foothills, Sacramento Valley. Spring [Online Interchange] {CNPS list}

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 30 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Paronychia, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 30 2015

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click for enlargement Paronychia ahartii
See CalPhotos for additional images
© 2004 Carol W. Witham

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Paronychia ahartii Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.