Paronychia cephalotes’ secret

I am wondering why this interesting, cold hardy, beautiful and excellent rockery plant is absolutely ignored. Is there a secret?

Paronychia cephalotes (Fam. Caryophyllaceae) in wild habitat – Dolomite hills to the south of Öskü, Hungary – photo courtesy Stefan Lefnaer

Last year I easily germinated seeds and grew the seedlings into a fine clump by the end of the season (the seedlings pot was planted in the rockery as a whole in May). I am confident it will make it well over the winter, and maybe even produce a few flowers. Meanwhile, someone else already knows why is it such a ‘secret’ species please?

Paronychia cephalotes – end of August 2016 (a group of seedlings were planted together in May);name=Paronychia%20cephalotes

8 replies
    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      The white, papery bracts are very attractive and very unusual for Caryophyllaceae. I will also made few cuttings asap, for just in case…

  1. John Stireman
    John Stireman says:

    Paronychia kapela is almost identical and seeds itself to abundance along a paver brick pathway that borders a rock garden here in Sandy, Utah. I donated seed to the North American Rock Garden Society seed exchange in past years and will do so again in the future. This species is not so secret among rock gardeners.

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Yes, I know P. kapela is very similar and cultivated in some extent (never saw it grown in Ontario), but I noticed many people to be unaware of Paronychia genus (the ornamental species) in general. It is good if you can ‘spread’ P. kapela around. Since I only got P. cephalotes seeds, that’s what I can use to make it a bit more popular.

  2. Sharon
    Sharon says:

    So, from your seeds ordered last summer, germination has occurred a few days ago meaning I will find out what the secret is to Paronychia cephalotes, not this growing season I see but next. I am wondering why this plant bears it’s name. Paronychia in medical terms refers to the ingrown toenail or fingernail process from cellulitis to fungal infection. Very secretive indeed.

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      I am glad you got seedlings; I used the ‘secret’ in a metaphorical way. There are few non-ornamentals Paronychia (including a P. canadensis) which were thought to be
      useful against the nail fungus, hence the ‘bad’ name.
      The ‘nice’ ones, all seem to require sunny locations and good drainage; P. cephalotes also clearly dislikes limestone if you look at the wild habitat. Last year it was a good one for it but to be on the safe side, I think about moving it in another location that is naturally sloped, as soon as I take some cuttings.

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