Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago

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S.G. Aiken, M.J. Dallwitz, L.L. Consaul, C.L. McJannet, R.L. Boles, G.W. Argus, J.M. Gillett, P.J. Scott, R. Elven, M.C. LeBlanc, L.J. Gillespie, A.K. Brysting, H. Solstad, and J.G. Harris

Portulacaceae A.L. de Jussieu

English: Purslane family.

Portulacaceae, Purslane family.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 1–5 cm high (in Arctic Island specimens, to 15 cm high Manitoba and Alaskan collections); annual herbs. Taproot present. Ground level or underground stems absent. Leaves distributed along the stems; opposite; dying annually and non-persistent. Petioles absent (usually), or present (sometimes on the lower leaves); 0.1–2 mm long. Leaf blade bases attenuate. Blades 3–10(–15) mm long, 1–3 mm wide, ovate or oblanceolate, flat, appearing single-veined or with inconspicuous veins. Blade adaxial surface glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glabrous. Blade apices rounded.

Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems with leaves. Flowers solitary (rarely, in tiny plants), or in inflorescences. Inflorescences cymose. Flowers per inflorescence 1–3(–6); small; radially symmetrical (actinomorphic), or bilaterally symmetrical (zygomorphic) (slightly). Sepals conventional; 2; free; 1–1.5 mm wide; green. Calyx glabrous. Petals conventional; free; 3; green; obovate; unlobed; 1–1.5 mm long; 0.5–0.6 mm wide. Stamens 3. Anthers 0.2–0.3 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 3; syncarpous. Ovaries sub-globose; glabrous. Styles 3 (each with a forked lobe); partially fused. Placentation basal (with a single ovule), or free central (in the family, but reduced to a single ovule in this genus and appearing basal). Ovules per ovary 1. Fruit with calyx persisting; dry; a capsule; spherical; black (the colour coming from the seeds as the ripe fruit wall is membranous, pale green, and easily split); 1–1.5 mm long; 0.8–1 mm wide. Seeds 1–3; 0.9–1.1 mm long.

Ecology and habitat. Moist, turfy places by lakesand ponds among willows (Porsild 1957).

North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories Islands, continental Northwest Territories, continental Nunavut.

General notes. Miller (2003) noted that the classification of Montia is in transition. It is widely recognised that the genus as traditionally treated is a rather disparate assemblage of species, albeit closely related. Several segregate genera have been described, but as R.C. Carolin (1993) has observed, "while some are almost certainly recognisable at the generic level, the others probably less certainly.’ With the legitimate uncertainty, Miller (2003) treated Montia in a broad, traditional sense, stating that to do otherwise is to give the impression that we know more about the relationships of the species than is actually the case. But however the genus Montia is circumscribed, M. fontana remains a Montia, as it is the type species of the genus name.


This publication is available on the internet (posted May 2011) and on CD-ROM (published in 2007). These versions are identical in content, except that the errata page for CD-ROM is accessible on the main index page of the web version.

Recommended citation for the web-based version of this publication: Aiken, S.G., Dallwitz, M.J., Consaul, L.L., McJannet, C.L., Boles, R.L., Argus, G.W., Gillett, J.M., Scott, P.J., Elven, R., LeBlanc, M.C., Gillespie, L.J., Brysting, A.K., Solstad, H., and Harris, J.G. 2007. Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval. NRC Research Press, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa. http://nature.ca/aaflora/data, accessed on DATE.

Recommended citation for the CD-ROM version of this publication: Aiken, S.G., Dallwitz, M.J., Consaul, L.L., McJannet, C.L., Boles, R.L., Argus, G.W., Gillett, J.M., Scott, P.J., Elven, R., LeBlanc, M.C., Gillespie, L.J., Brysting, A.K., Solstad, H., and Harris, J.G. 2007. Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval. [CD-ROM] NRC Research Press, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa.

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