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

Montia parvifolia (Moc. ex DC.) Greene
small-leaved montia (littleleaf minerslettuce)
Montiaceae (Purslane family)
(Previously in Portulacaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Gary Ansell  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #24918)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Montia parvifolia
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from slender rhizomes and stolons, sometimes forming large patches; stems ascending to erect, solitary to several, simple from the nodes of the rhizomes, 10-25 cm tall; vegetative stoloniferous branches up to 40 cm long.
Basal leaves many, egg-shaped, spoon-shaped or rounded, the blades 1.5-3 cm long, 2-20 mm wide, the stalks as long or longer than the blades; stem leaves several, lanceolate to egg-shaped or rounded, alternate, reduced, narrower than the basal leaves.
Inflorescence of bracteate, terminal racemes with 3-8 flowers on stalks 5-12 mm long; petals 5, pinkish or white with pink veins, 7-15 mm long; sepals 2, unequal, 2-3 mm long; stamens 5.
Capsules, egg-shaped, 3-valved; seeds 2, black, shiny, 1-1.5 mm long.
Two intergrading taxa occur in BC:

1. Basal leaf blades narrowly egg-shaped to spoon-shaped, usually less than 5 mm wide; the common phase in BC........................ var. parvifolia.

1. Basal leaf blades rounded, usually more than 5 mm wide; infrequent along the coast......................var. Flagellaris (Bong.) C. L. Hitchc.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist mossy rock outcrops, streambanks and shorelines in the lowland and montane zones; frequent in S BC; N to SE AK and SW YT, E to MB and S to MT, ID, UT and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Montia parvifolia

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 10 771 2250
Slope Gradient (%) 0 40 200
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
20 168 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(2), CWH(48), ESSF(13), ICH(24), IDF(6), MH(3), MS(3), PP(2)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade intolerant, submontane to montane, Western North American forb distributed equally in the Pacific and Cordilleran regions. Occurs in cool temperate and cool mesothermal climates on nitrogen­medium soils; its occurrence decreases with increasing latitude and elevation. Scattered in open-canopy forests on water-shedding and water-receiving sites. Usually inhabits very shallow, friable organic materials accumulated on stony and rocky sites affected by temporary surface flow of water and organic materials. Characteristic of colluvial sites.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


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 cool temperate & cool mesothermal.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References