Pale montia as seen at the crest of the Columbia Hills in the eastern Columbia River Gorge.........May 5, 2005. Note the horn-like leaves subtending the inflorescence, a useful characteristic to help distinguish from the similar var. glauca which has a rounded, perfoliate stem leaf below the inflorescence. Note also the glaucous cast to the entire plant, the narrow, erect basal rosette of leaves and the claw-like pair of stem leaves subtending the short inflorescence of this species.
Pale montia is a small, glaucous annual with one to several simple, erect stems from 10-60 cm long. The numerous basal leaves are linear to linear-spatulate, measuring from 2-6 cm long and 0.5-1.5 mm wide. The two stem leaves are opposite, wider and larger than the basal leaves. They are linear-lanceolate to lanceolate-ovate in shape and measure from 5-40 mm long. As seen from the photos, the stem leaves can appear somewhat similar in appearance to the claw of a crab.
The racemes measure from 5-20 mm long. The 2-7 flowers are whitish to pink in color, with the 2 sepals 1-2 mm long and the petals from 2.5-4.5 mm long.
Pale montia is found on seasonally moist to dry soils in the lowlands.
Pale montia may be found from southern British California south along the western edge of the Washington Cascades to the Columbia River, and south along both sides of the Oregon Cascades to southern California.
In the Columbia River Gorge, it may be found east of Bingen, WA between the elevations of 100'-2600'.