JAMES' NAILWORT
File Size: 159 KB
 
Paronychia jamesii  Torr. & A. Gray
Russell County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 4-10 inches
Family: Caryophyllaceae - Pink Family
Flowering Period:   June, July, August, September
Stems: Erect, much-branched above, rough or minutely pubescent, sometimes glabrescent; nodes sometimes swollen.
Leaves: Opposite, basal and cauline, basal often withering early; stipules lanceolate, .2 to .6 inch, membranous; petiole sometimes present on basal leaves, usually absent on cauline leaves; blade linear, .3 to 1.2 inch long, less than 1/25 inch wide, tip obtuse to acute or mucronate, margins entire, surfaces puberulent to pubescent.
Inflorescences: Cymes, terminal, 20-70-flowered, uppermost flowers often in 3s.
Flowers: Sepals 5, slightly connate basally, forming short tube, lobes lanceolate, 1/16 to 1/10 inch, margins membranous, apex acuminate; petals 5, thread-like; stamens 5; styles 2.
Fruits: Utricles, ellipsoid to ovoid, ca. 1/25 inch, smooth; seeds brown or reddish brown, nearly spherical to ellipsoid.
Habitat: Rocky to gravelly mixed-grass and shortgrass prairies, rock outcrops
Distribution: West 2/3 of Kansas
Origin: Native
Uses: The Kiowa brewed a tea-like beverage from the plant.
Comments: Named for Edwin James, botanist and geologist with Stephen Long's expedition of 1819-1820. Paronychia, beside and fingernail, alluding to its use for treating diseases of the fingernail.

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