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Montia fontana L.


Habitat: Rills, pools, and ditches on or near the Atlantic . [Rocky coastal (non-forested, upland)]

Range: St. Anne des Monts, Quebec; Maine, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Labrador, Newfoundland, and across arctic America, extending south in the mountains to California. Also in the Andes of South America, in Australasia and in northern Europe and Asia.

Aids to Identification: Montia fontana is a low, weak, densely tufted herb that grows in diffuse clumps. It has small opposite leaves and tiny, inconspicuous flowers that have 5 petals but only 2 sepals. The fruit is a shiny, black achene (single-seeded, dry, indehiscent fruit).

Ecological characteristics: Occurs in small pools and seepy areas on coastal ledgy or peaty shores and islands.

Phenology: Flowers in the summer, senesces around August leaving a mass of decaying, mushy foliage with the shiny, black seeds scattered throughout it.

Family: Portulacaceae

Synonyms: Formerly known as Montia lamprosperma Cham.

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 10 town(s) in the following county(ies): Hancock, Knox, Washington.

Dates of documented observations are: 1902, 1907, 1982, 1985 (4), 1986 (2), 1987, 1989 (2), 1993, 1995

Reason(s) for rarity: Habitat restricted.

Conservation considerations: Typically found in small populations but appears well established where it does grow. Appears little threatened by human activities.