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Montia fontana

Higher Taxonomy
Family: MontiaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual to perennial herb; generally fleshy. Stem: 1--many, generally glabrous. Leaf: simple, alternate or opposite. Inflorescence: axillary or terminal; cyme, raceme, panicle, umbel, or flower 1. Flower: bisexual, radial; sepals generally 2(9), free; petals (1)2--19, free or +- fused; stamens 1--many, epipetalous or not, anthers pink, rose, or yellow; ovary superior, chamber 1, ovules 1--many, placenta basal or free-central; styles (0)1--8, generally fused at base, branched. Fruit: capsule, circumscissile or 2--3-valved. Seed: 1--many, shiny or +- pebbly or sculptured, black or gray, generally with oil-filled appendage as food for ants.
Genera In Family: +- 22 genera, +- 230 species: generally temperate America, Asia, Australia, Europe, Kerguelen Is, New Zealand, southern Africa, poorly represented in Europe; some cultivated (Lewisia, Calandrinia). Note: All CA genera previously included in Portulacaceae; details of flowers, seeds require 20× magnification.
Unabridged Note: May include Hectorellaceae.
eFlora Treatment Author: John M. Miller, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: MontiaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb, glabrous, +- fleshy, +- aquatic or not, matted or not. Leaf: cauline > 2, alternate or opposite, free, entire. Inflorescence: raceme, 1-sided; lowest flower generally bracted; pedicel recurved, erect in fruit. Flower: petals (3)5, equal or 2 larger, white to pink; stamens (3)5, epipetalous; ovary chamber 1, placentas basal, style 1, stigmas 3. Fruit: valves 3, margins rolled in, forcibly expelling seeds. Seed: 1--3, generally black, smooth to tubercled, appendaged or not.
Species In Genus: 12 species: Worldwide. Etymology: (Giuseppe Monti, Italian botanist, 1682--1760) Note: Sometimes divided into 9 genera.
eFlora Treatment Author: John M. Miller & Kenton L. Chambers

Montia fontana L.
Habit: Annual 1--30 cm, prostrate to erect, floating or not, often tufted or matted, rooting at lower nodes. Leaf: opposite, +- sessile, 3--20 mm, linear to widely oblanceolate, base tapered, tip acute to obtuse. Inflorescence: many, some axillary; flowers 1--8, lowest 1--2-bracted. Flower: often cleistogamous; sepals 1--2 mm, round; petals 1--2 mm, +- unequal, white; stamens 3. Fruit: 1--2 mm. Seed: 0.5--1.2 mm, generally +- rough with acute tubercles; appendage round or flat. Chromosomes: 2n=20,40.
Ecology: Common. Ponds, streams, vernal pools, seeps; Elevation: < 3200 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA-FP, GB; Distribution Outside California: to Alaska, eastern North America; +- worldwide. Highly variable. Flowering Time: Feb--Jul Note: Generally self-pollinated.
Synonyms: Montia fontana subsp. amporitana Sennen; Montia fontana subsp. chondrosperma (Fenzl) Walters; Montia fontana subsp. variabilis Walters; Montia funstonii Rydb.; Montia hallii (A. Gray) Greene; Montia verna Necker
eFlora Treatment Author: John M. Miller & Kenton L. Chambers
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botanical illustration including Montia fontana


Citation for this treatment: John M. Miller & Kenton L. Chambers 2017. Montia fontana, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 17, 2017.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 17, 2017.

Montia fontana
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© 2017 Neal Kramer
Montia fontana
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© 2009 Keir Morse
Montia fontana
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© 2004 Carol W. Witham
Montia fontana
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© 2004 Carol W. Witham
Montia fontana
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© 2004 Carol W. Witham
Montia fontana
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© 2006 Steve Matson

More photos of Montia fontana in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Montia fontana:
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
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.