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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 2016. Montia fontana, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 07, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 07, 2016.

Montia fontana
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© 2006 Steve Matson
Montia fontana
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© 2004 Carol W. Witham
Montia fontana
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© 2009 Keir Morse
Montia fontana
click for enlargement
© 2004 Carol W. Witham
Montia fontana
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse
Montia fontana
click for enlargement
© 2009 Keir Morse

More photos of Montia fontana in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Montia fontana:
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.