Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago


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

Antennaria alpina (L.) Gaertner subsp. canescens (Lange) Chmiel.

English: Greyish pussy-toes,

French: Antennaire grisâtre.

Asteraceae (Compositae), Daisy family.

Published in Rhodora 100: 61.1998.

Type: Greenland: District Colon, Godthaab, 07–08 without year, leg. Vahl, selected by Chmielewski, Rhodora 100: 61. 1998. Lectotype: C.

Synonymy. Antennaria alpina (L.) Gaertn. var. canescens Lange, Fl. Dan. 47: 9, t. 2786, f. 1.1869.

Antennaria canescens (Lange) Malte, Rhodora 36: 109. 1934.

Antennaria sornborgeri Fernald, Rhodora 18: 237. 1916.

Antennaria brevistyla Fernald, Rhodora 33: 323. 1931.

Antennaria. atriceps Fernald, in Raup, Contrib. Arnold Arb. 6: 207. 1934.

Antennaria. subcanescens Ostenf. ex Malte, Rhodora 36: 112. 1934.

Antennaria. boecheriana A.E. Porsild, Bot. Tidskr. 61: 36. 1965.

Antennaria canescens (Lange) Malte var. pseudoporsildii Böcher, Meddel. Grønl. 148, 3: 32. 1963.

Antennaria canescens (Lange) Malte subsp. boecheriana (A.E. Porsild) Á. Löve, Taxon 19: 301. 1970.

Vegetative morphology. Plants (4–)5–15 cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose, or not caespitose. Only fibrous roots present (fibrous roots arising from the underground stem). Ground level or underground stems horizontal; elongate, or compact; 0.5–2 mm wide. Caudex present. Aerial stems developed; erect. Leaves present; mainly basal; alternate; marcescent. Petioles absent. Leaf blade bases truncate, or attenuate. Blades 8–12(–15) mm long (flowering stem leaves sometimes longer than the basal leaves), 1–2.5 mm wide, spreading (to decumbent), oblanceolate, flat, with inconspicuous veins. Blade adaxial surface hairy, hairs woolly (with hairs to 1.5 mm long), hairs simple, hairs dense, hairs white, or translucent (the hairs) or grey (ashy, the surface colour of the leaf from the dense hair cover). Blade abaxial surface hairy, hairs woolly (similar to the adaxial surface), hairs very dense, hairs white, hairs straight, hairs appressed. Blade apices acuminate, or acute (basal leaves; upper leaves of the flowering stems are tipped with brown, scale-like, glabrous "flags" to 1.5 mm long).

Reproductive morphology. Plants dioecious and agamospermic (functional pollen unknown in arctic plants). Flowering stems with leaves. Flowering stems hairy. Flowering stems woolly. Flowering stem hairs simple; longer than the diameter of the flowering stem; white or translucent. Inflorescences of several flowering heads; globose or sub-globose, or ovate (very broadly); 1–2 cm long; 10–20(–30) mm wide. Flowering heads 7–10(–12) mm deep; 6–12 mm wide; with only disc florets. Pedicels subtending flowering heads; with non-glandular hairs (very short). Involucral bracts present (also flowering stem leaves at the base of the short pedicels and bract leaves on the short pedicels subtending the capitulum). Number of rows 2–3. Outer involucral bracts mostly green (with flag-like brown scale tips); lying adjacent to the flowers; lanceolate; 4–4.5 mm high (bract leaves towards the top of the pedicels 5–5.5 mm long); 1–1.5 mm wide; glabrous (at the apex), or sparsely hairy (at the base); without glandular hairs. Inner involucral bracts lanceolate; 4.5–5 mm high; 0.5–0.7 mm wide; margins herbaceous; dark brownish green at the apex; apex entire (attenuate with a reduced "flag"). Flowers radially symmetrical (actinomorphic); unisexual (usually), or bisexual (but functional pollen unknown in arctic plants). Sepals represented by a pappus. Pappus with a single row of hairs; whitish. Disc florets pappus 4.5–5.2 mm long. Petals conventional; fused; longer than the calyx; 5; purple (or magenta in a short zone at the top, elsewhere transparent); 3.5–4 mm long. Corolla tubular; unlobed (fringed), or 5-lobed (slightly). Stamens absent. Ovary inferior; carpels 2; syncarpous. Styles 1; 4–4.5 mm long. Stigmas per ovary 2. Placentation basal. Ovules per ovary 1. Fruit sessile; dry; cypselas (none found in Arctic material); 1.4–1.5 mm long; indehiscent. Seeds 1.

Chromosome information. 2n = 56.

2n = 56. Jørgensen et al. (1958, Greenland); Löve (1970a, Iceland?); Löve, in Moore (1982 Iceland, for A. boecherana); Bayer and Stebbins (1987, for A. atriceps); Chmielewski and Chinnappa (1990, for A. atriceps).

Ploidy levels recorded 8x.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: slopes; imperfectly drained moist areas, dry; gravel, sand; with low organic content, with high organic content. Uncommon on dry mineral soil amongst boulders with Hierochloë alpina (CAN 549940); damp herbmats among willows (CAN 302108); matted in dry grass tussock (Poa arctica) on dryish slope (CAN 302118); damp favourable grass slope with Bartsia, Veronica wormskjoldii, Potentilla crantzii (CAN 302105).

North American distribution. Northwest Territories Islands, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec, Labrador, Newfoundland. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago limited. Uncommon. Low Arctic. Arctic islands: Baffin, Parry islands, Banks (Melville Island).

Northern hemisphere distribution. Amphi-Beringian, or North American, or amphi-Atlantic (occurring from Greenland to Alaska, Porsild (1957)). Northern Iceland (1), Northern Fennoscandian (?), South Chukotka, East Chukotka, West Alaska, North Alaska – Yukon, Central Canada, Labrador – Hudson Bay, West Greenland, East Greenland.

General notes. Antennaria canescens in a previous, restricted meaning was confined to Greenland and northeastern Canada. Male plants are unknown in Greenland and North America. Several authors (e.g., Löve 1970a, Hämet-Ahti et al. 1986) have reported this entity also from northern Fennoscandia, but in this area some recent investigators have considered A. canescens to be the sexual plants with mixed sexes in the populations, whereas A. alpina s.s. was the purely female agamospermic. Opinions obviously differ. Chmielewski (1998) included both plants, from northern Europe, Greenland, Canada, and Alaska, in his wide concept of subsp. canescens. Europeans feel the need for a more extensive analysis before they fully accept the presence of two 'hairy' subspecies in Scandinavia (and Iceland), 'alpina' and 'canescens'.

In North America, the species is characterised by its dark green to dark brown involucral bracts (phyllaries) and conspicuous flags on the upper and middle cauline leaves. The basal leaves vary from glabrous to pubescent.

Antennaria alpina belongs to Section Alpinae, which is one of five large polyploid species complexes within the genus. The section has about 20 species names that are currently applied in an arctic context. Bayer (1993) considered that A. alpina s.s. is circumboreal, fully agamospermous, and primarily hexaploid, 2n = 84. Bayer, in Cody (1996), treated this aggregate collectively, probably because it was difficult to analyse on North American representatives alone. Bayer (1993) applied the collective name A. alpina also for some northwestern North American and amphi-Beringian entities ('compacta', 'cryomophylla', and perhaps 'subcanescens'). This is not considered the best solution, and these entities - 'compacta', 'cryomophylla', and perhaps 'subcanescens' - are here treated as belonging to the A. friesiana group. Even so, A. alpina is still a very heterogeneous species.

Chmielewski (1998), using canonical discriminant analysis, determined that A. alpina does occur in North America and suggested that the main morphological distinctions between the two aforementioned polyploid complexes are (a) the presence of scarious tips at the ends of middle to distal peduncular leaves in A. alpina (these being absent in A. media) and (b) the shape of the involucral bracts. The analyses of Chmielewski (1998) supported the recognition of A. alpina subsp. canescens and subsp. porsildii. These taxa differed with respect to the degree, distribution, and type of pubescence of the basal leaves.

In this treatment the name A. subcanescens is placed in the synonymy of Antennaria alpina (L.) Gaertn. subsp. canescens (Lange) Chmiel. Antennaria subcanescens has been indicated by other authors as part of the A. friesiana aggregate but is placed in A. alpina subsp. canescens by Chmielewski (1998). Male plants are unknown.

Porsild (1957) indicated that A. subcanescens may be found on the Arctic Archipelago, and is endemic to northwestern North America. The range given by Porsild and Cody (1980) shows a few very scattered sites in eastern and western Greenland, southern Baffin Island, and along the Arctic Coast west to Point Hope on the Bering Strait. Plants mapped in Porsild and Cody (1980) as occurring on southeastern Baffin Island (CAN 284965, 274132) were annotated as A. friesiana subsp. freisiana by J.G. Chmielewski (SLRO) in 1995. Of seven specimens from continental North America, identified as A. subcanescens by A.E. Porsild between 1948 and 1964, two were annotated as A. media Greene J.G. Chmielewski (SLRO) in 1995 (CAN 247480, 247481) and five as A. friesiana (CAN 506840, 506841, 106129, 106130, 106126). Thus no specimens currently considered to be A. subcanescens have been found for the Canadian Arctic.

Illustrations. • Arctic Island Distribution.

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.