TREATMENT FROM THE JEPSON MANUAL (1993) previous taxon | next taxon
Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California
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Annual or perennial herb, generally fleshy
Stems generally glabrous
Leaves simple, alternate or opposite, sometimes stipuled
Inflorescence various
Flower bisexual, radial; sepals generally 2(–8), free or fused at base; petals 3–18, free or ± fused; stamens 1–many, free or inserted on corolla; ovary superior or partly inferior, chamber 1, placenta free-central or basal; styles 2–8, generally fused at base
Fruit: capsule, circumscissile or 2–3-valved
Seeds 1–many, generally black, generally shiny
Genera in family: ± 20 genera, ± 400 species: generally temp Am, Australia, s Africa; some cultivated (Lewisia, Portulaca, Calandrinia )
Reference: [Bogle 1969 J Arnold Arbor 50:566–598]
Family description and key to genera by Dieter H. Wilken & Walter A. Kelley.


Kenton L. Chambers

Annual or perennial herb, glabrous, ± fleshy, sometimes ± aquatic, sometimes matted
Leaves: cauline > 2, alternate or opposite, entire
Inflorescence: raceme, 1-sided; lowest flower generally bracted; pedicels recurved, erect in fruit
Flower: petals (3–)5, equal or 2 larger; stamens (3–)5, filaments fused to corolla-base; ovary chamber 1, placentas basal, style 1, stigmas 3
Fruit: capsule; valves 3, margins rolling inward and forcibly expelling seeds
Seeds 1–3, generally black, smooth to tubercled, fleshy-appendaged or not
Species in genus: 12 species: Am, Siberia, Australia
Etymology: (Giuseppe Monti, Italian botanist, 1682–1760)
Reference: [McNeill 1975 Can J Bot 53:789–809]
Sometimes divided into 9 genera.


M. fontana L.


Annual 1–30 cm, prostrate to erect, sometimes floating, often tufted or matted, rooting from lower nodes
Leaves opposite, ± sessile, 3–20 mm, linear to widely oblanceolate; tip acute to obtuse; base tapered
Inflorescences many, some axillary; flowers 1–8, lowest 1–2-bracted
Flowers often cleistogamous; sepals 1–2 mm, round, truncate; 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=18,20
Ecology: Common. Ponds, streams, vernal pools, seeps, ditches
Elevation: < 3200 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province, Great Basin Floristic Province
Distribution outside California: to Alaska, e N.America, ± worldwide
Flowering time: Jul–Aug
Highly variable
Synonyms: M. hallii (A. Gray) Greene; M. verna Necker
Generally self-pollinated. Plants with seed densely acute-tubercled have been called subsp. chondrosperma (Fenzl) Walters; plants with seed smooth on sides, tubercled on keel have been called subsp. amporitana Sennen; plants from s SNH, TR, SNE, with seed smooth have been called subsp. variabilis Walters [ M. funstonii Rydb., Funston's montia].

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bioregional map for MONTIA%20fontana being generated
N.B. The distribution depicted here differs from that given in The Jepson Manual (1993)

Retrieve Jepson Interchange Index to Plant Names entry for Montia fontana
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