E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Montia fontana L.
blinks (annual water minerslettuce; water chickweed)
Montiaceae (Purslane family)
(Previously in Portulacaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #6573)

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Distribution of Montia fontana
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Species Information

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Annual herb from a slender taproot; stems decumbent to ascending, several, freely branching but tending to root at the nodes and so may persist from 1 year to the next, 3-20 cm long.
Basal leaves lacking; stem leaves linear to broadly oblanceolate, opposite, 4-15 mm long, 1-7 mm wide, tapering to short stalks or unstalked.
Inflorescence of loose, terminal racemes with 3-7 flowers on slender, recurved stalks 3-10 (20) mm long; corollas white, 1-2 mm long, fused about 1/2 their length, 5-lobed, the lobes usually unequal; sepals 2, round, 1-1.5 mm long; stamens 3, joined to the corolla tubes.
Capsules, egg-shaped, flattened, 1.5 mm long; seeds black, round, 0.7-1.2 mm long, with numerous small projections, appendage round or flat.
Recognition of infraspecific taxa within this variable species complex does not appear warranted at this time (McNeill 1975).

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Wet meadows or shallow water in the lowland and montane zones; infrequent in NW and SW, rare in SC BC; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to ME, ID, NV and CA; Greenland, Iceland, Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Claytonia fontana (L.) R.J. Davis
Montia dipetala Suksd.
Montia fontana subsp. amporitana auct. non Sennen
Montia fontana subsp. chondrosperma (Fenzl) Walter
Montia fontana subsp. fontana L.
Montia fontana subsp. variabilis
Montia fontana var. lamprosperma (Cham.) Fenzl
Montia fontana var. tenerrima (A. Gray) Fernald & Wiegand
Montia fontana var. variabilis (Walters) Kozhevn.
Montia hallii (A. Gray) Greene
Montia lamprosperma Cham.
Montia minor C.C. Gmel.
Montia verna Neck.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References