Montia linearis

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Montia linearis
Used with permission from Bud Kovalchik
Montia linearis
Photo credit Rod Gilbert
Montia linearis
Photo credit Rod Gilbert

Montia linearis, or narrow-leaved montia is a flowering plant in the purslane family (Portulacaceae). It is sometimes called narrowleaf miner's lettuce, or narrow leaved water chickweed.

Synonyms: Claytonia linearis, Montiastrum lineare



  • Plantae – Plants
  • Subkingdom - Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
  • Superdivision - Spermatophyta – Seed plants
  • Division - Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
  • Class - Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
  • Subclass - Caryophyllidae
  • Order - Caryophyllales
  • Family - Portulacaceae
  • Genus - Montia
  • Species - M. linearis

source: [1]


General: Annual herb from a fibrous root; stems ascending to erect, usually solitary but sometimes several, branched or unbranched, 5-20 cm tall. Leaves: Basal leaves lacking; stem leaves several, linear, alternate, 1-5 cm long, 1-3 mm wide. Flowers: Inflorescence of loose terminal or axillary racemes 2-5 cm long with 5-12 flowers on slightly recurved stalks 5-20 mm long; petals 5, white, 4-6.5 mm long; sepals 2, 3-4 mm long but up to 6 mm long in fruit; stamens 3. Fruits: Capsules, 3-valved; seeds black, shiny, lens-shaped, 1.4-2.5 mm long

M. linearis is an herbaceous, low annual that is somewhat succulent. Plants are several branched and between 5 and 20 cm tall. Leaves are alternate and narrow, 1.5 - 5 cm long. Flowers are white, 3 -4 mm long with 2 sepals and 5 petals. Flowers grow in a loose cluster in groups of 5 -12. M. linearis has three segmented capsules that contain shiny, black, disk shapped seeds.

Source: Pojar and Mackinnon pg 132

Bloom Period

April - July



Narrow - leaved montia grows from British Columbia, east to Saskatchewan, south along the west coast of the United States to Southern California, and is also present in some states in the south eastern United States.



Moist to dry fields, grasslands and rocks slopes in the lowland, steppe, and lower montane zones.



Seeds were sown into cone-tainers filled with Sunshine # 1 (a soil-less peat-based media) amended with micro-nutrients (Micromax) and a slow-release fertilizer (Osmocote 14-14-14.) The flats of cone-tainers were covered with poly-ethylene bags and placed in a walk-in cooler (35-40 degrees) for 2 weeks.

Flats were removed from the cooler after 2 weeks and placed in greenhouse set at moderate temperatures (70 degree days/ 50 degree nights.) Seeds germinated within one to two weeks. 60% germination occurred.

Photo Gallery


  1. USDA, NRCS. 2012. The PLANTS Database (, 16 April 2012). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.


Montia linearis: MOLI

Seed sample from: 2011

Average Measurement: 2.2 x 2.2 x 1

Measurement Range: L: 2 - 2.5, W: 2 - 2.5, D: 0.9 - 1.1


Shape: Seed lenticular in shape.

Color: Hilum scar is white, surrounded by a ring of brown. Seed is dark red to black.

Surface: Seeds are papillose with some small ridges around the surface edges.

Could be confused with: Caladrinia ciliata

Latitudinal Cross Section: : rhombic MOLI- lat.png

Longitudinal Cross Section: elliptical MOLI-log-cross.png

Montia linearis
Montia linearis

Basic Explanations and Assumptions:

The dimensions for the seeds are length x width x depth. The location of the hilum is used as the base of the seed, and the length is measured from hilum to the opposite apex. Where a style is present, the length is measured from the hilum to the bottom of the style. Width is measured at a right angle to the length at the widest part. Depth is measured at a right angle to the intersection of height and width lines.

Measurements included are the mean average for each measurement of ten separate seeds.

All measurements in millimeters unless otherwise noted.