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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Short-seeded Waterwort - Elatine brachysperma

Status Under Review
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR
C-value: 6

Agency Status


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General Description
Short-seeded Water-wort is a tiny, glabrous annual, growing submerged or exposed, that roots freely at the nodes and forms small mats. The opposite, linear- to spatula- shaped, entire margined leaves are usually less than 1 cm long. The minute flowers are borne solitary and sessile in the leaf axils and have sepals, petals, and stamens in sets of 2 or 3, and a single pistil. The mature fruits are thin, transparent walled, 2 or 3 celled capsules the size of a pin head. The seeds are regularly reticulate with 10-15 pits in each of 6-8 longitudinal rows.

Fruit mature in late August-October.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Distinguished from other Montana Elatine species by having sessile, 2-3 chambered capsules that contain short, only slightly curved seeds with relatively few reticulations per row. A compound microscope and technical key are needed for positive identification.

Species Range

Range Comments
WA, MT to OH, south to CA, TX, GA. Known from Gallatin and Missoula counties (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 5

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Shallow waters, shores and mudflats of lakes and ponds in valleys.

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Fassett, N. C. 1985. (3rd ed.) A Manual of Aquatic Plants, with Revision Appendix by E. C. Ogden. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison. 405 pp.
    • Heidel, B. L. 1996. Noteworthy collections - Montana. Madrono 43(3):436-440.
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Citation for data on this website:
Short-seeded Waterwort — Elatine brachysperma.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from