Lysimachia minima (Chaffweed)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; moist to dry, disturbed soil, swales, granite outcrops around moist depressions|
|Bloom season:||April - September|
|Plant height:||1 to 4 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are tiny, mostly stalkless, and single in the leaf axils, tubular to somewhat bell-shaped, with 4 or 5 pale pinkish to greenish white, pointed, broadly lance-like lobes and an equal number of narrow, sharply pointed sepals that are longer than the petal lobes. Flowers are less than 1/8 inch across when the lobes are fully spreading and about 1/16 inch across when they are more erect.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are usually less than ¼ inch long and 1/8 inch wide, but may be up to 1/3 inch long, toothless and hairless, and mostly alternate along the stem though lower leaves may be opposite. Shape is elliptic to egg-shaped, sometimes widest above the middle, pointed at the tip and narrowed to a stalk-like base. Stems are smooth and simple or branched, erect or prostrate but rising at the tip (decumbent) and rooting at the nodes, forming colonies.
Fruit is a round capsule about 2 mm in diameter, containing 5 to 13 tiny brown seeds.
Chaffweed, also known as Anagallis minima in the Primulaceae (primrose) family, is a circumpolar species and native to much of North America. It is common throughout much of California, the south central Great Plains and into central Florida. It is rare, however, across the entire northern tier of the US and Canada and has previously been reported only once in Minnesota, in Big Stone county back in 1901. It was relegated to Minnesota's list of “historical” plant species by the Minnesota DNR in their rare species update of 2013. However, this past summer (2013) on one of our photographic field trips we discovered large populations at Morton Outcrop SNA in Renville county. Obviously back on the state's active plant species list, its status is yet to be determined. Its habitat is typically described as sandy or muddy soil that is prone to temporary standing water, such as pond edges and low ground in old fields, so the vernal pools in Minnesota's rock outcrops seem ideal habitat.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken at Morton Outcrop SNA, Renville County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?