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

Caryophyllaceae A.L. de Jussieu

Caryophyllaceae, Pink family.

Synonymy. Alsinaceae (included)

Vegetative morphology. Plants (0.5–)1.5–20(–45) cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose, or not caespitose; sometimes vegetatively proliferating by bulbils on stems or leaves (Cerastium regelii, Minuartia rossii, Sagina nodosa, and Stellaria longipes?), or never vegetatively proliferating by bulbils on stems or leaves, in inflorescences, from gemmiphores and gemmae, or by fragmentation. Taproot present, or only fibrous roots present. Ground level or underground stems horizontal, or absent; rhizomatous, or stoloniferous; elongate, or compact; (0.3–)0.5–1.5(–7) mm wide. Horizontal stems at ground level, branching extensively to shape plant habit as mats. Caudex present, or absent. Aerial stems erect, or ascending, or decumbent, or prostrate. Aerial stem trichomes spreading, or erect, or retrorse. Leaves mainly basal, or distributed along the stems, or basal in a rosette; opposite; distinctly distichous, or not distinctly distichous (usually); marcescent. Petioles absent. Leaf blades simple. Leaf blade bases truncate, or cuneate, or attenuate. Leaves grass-like, or not grass-like. Blades 1–40(–80) mm long, (0.1–)0.5–9(–13) mm wide, appressed to the stem or spreading or divaricate, linear or oblong or elliptic or lanceolate or ovate or oblanceolate or obovate or spatulate, flat or strongly keeled or folded, with three main veins or appearing single-veined or with inconspicuous veins. Blade adaxial surface dull or shiny or glaucous, glabrous or scabrous or hairy, hairs pilose or villous or short-silky or strigose, hairs simple or glandular, hairs sparse or moderately dense or dense, hairs white, or translucent. Blade abaxial surface glabrous or hairy, hairs pilose or villous or strigose, hairs sparse or moderately dense or very dense, hairs white. Blade margins glabrous or scabrous or with non-glandular hairs or with glandular hairs; apices acuminate, or acute, or obtuse.

Reproductive morphology. Plants dioecious, or bisexual, or agamospermic. Flowering stems glabrous, or hairy. Flowering stems puberulent, or pubescent, or pilose, or villous. Flowering stem hairs simple; white or translucent, or white or translucent and transparent with red cross-walls; glandular hairs present, or absent. Flowers solitary, or in inflorescences. Inflorescences with flowers in a dichasium; terminal, or lateral. Inflorescence main branches angle of divergence less than 30˚, or 30–60˚, or 60–90˚. Bract leaves 2–10 mm long; 0.6–6 mm wide; with a distinct scarious margin, or without a distinct scarious margin; margins less than 0.3 mm, or margins 0.3–0.8 mm. Flowers per inflorescence 1–6(–20); small, or medium-sized, or large; unisexual, or bisexual (usually). Sepals conventional. Calyx base narrowly angled, or widely angled, or rounded. Sepals 4, or 5; free, or fused (into a tube at the base); (1–)1.5–2.5(–3.1) mm long; (1.4–)2–9(–20) mm wide; green, or purple, or green and purple; herbaceous, or herbaceous and scarious. Calyx tubular, or bell-shaped, or ovoid, or sub-cylindrical; 5-lobed; glabrous, or hairy. Calyx hairs pubescent, or pilose, or villous; glandular and non-glandular; white or translucent, or transparent with red cross-walls. Calyx teeth equal or nearly so; 1.2–3 mm long. Petals conventional; free; shorter than the calyx, or same length as the calyx, or longer than the calyx; 4, or 5; white (usually), or pink, or purple; obovate, or lanceolate, or oblanceolate, or spatulate, or obtriangular; unlobed, or slightly lobed or undulating, or notched; (1.4–)3.5–10(–25) mm long; 2–7 mm wide. Stamens 9, or 8, or 10; stamen filaments glabrous. Anthers yellow, or red; ellipsoid, or ovoid; (0.1–)0.2–0.8(–1.2) mm long. Nectaries present (in the family; sometimes very difficult to see in small arctic flowers). Receptacle surface glabrous. Ovary superior; carpels 3, or 4, or 5; syncarpous. Ovaries ovate, or oblong, or sub-globose, or clavate; glabrous. Styles 3, or 4, or 5; free; 0.4–3.5(–6) mm long. Stigmas per ovary 1. Placentation free central. Ovules per ovary 6–60. Fruit with calyx persisting; dry; a capsule; spherical, or ovoid, or elongate-cylindrical, or obovate, or oblong, or urceolate; yellowish, or black, or brown, or golden brown, or straw-coloured; (1.5–)4–10(–18) mm long; (0.8–)2–5(–8) mm wide; surface appearing veinless; mouth straight, or curved; dehiscent; opening with teeth at the top of the capsule (splitting sometimes almost to the base); teeth 3–10. Seeds 0.2–4.5 mm long; brown, or yellowish; surfaces smooth, verrucose, tuberculate, rugose.

Illustrations. • Cerastium beeringianum. A dichasium with a pair of terminal branchlets, one of which is in full bloom, and the second pair of flowers is in bud. Nunavut, Southampton Island, Salliq (Coral Harbour), coastline east of the Northern Store, 64°08'13"N, 83°09'53"W. Aiken and Brysting 01–075. CAN. • Honckenya peploides subsp. diffusa. Flowering plant growing in sand and fine gravel. Manitoba, Churchill, Beech Bay, in the tidal estuary of the Churchill River, south of the Port, 58°44'N, 94°10'W. Aiken and Brysting 01–018. CAN. Scale bar in cm. • Minuartia rossii. Isolated plants growing in an area with less than 5% vegetation cover. Nunavut, Ellesmere Island, Scoresby Bay, 79°53'N, 71°33'W. Aiken 98–025. CAN. Photograph by Mollie MacCormac. Scale bar in cm. • Sagina nodosa subsp. borealis. Flowering plant growing in dry, sun-baked dolomite gravel. Manitoba, Churchill, Beech Bay, in the tidal estuary of the Churchill River, south of the Port, 58°44.30'N, 94°08.06'W. Aiken and Brysting 01–032. CAN. • Silene involucrata. Petals white (milky) and much exserted. Note the fused calyx is campanulate to ovoid with 10 dark purple veins. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit. 28 July, 1982. J.M. Gillett 19056. • Stellaria humifusa. Plants growing prostrate on and sprawling across imperfectly drained mud flats in extensive salt meadow. Manitoba, Churchill, Beech Bay, in the tidal estuary of the Churchill River, south of the Port, 58°44'N, 94°10'W. Aiken and Brysting 01–022. CAN. Scale bar in cm. • Stellaria longipes. Plant similar in appearance to S. monantha but fresh, green and shiny. Nunavut, Rankin Inlet, adjacent to the graveyard, 62°48'N, 92° 06'W. Aiken and Brysting 01–057. CAN. • Viscaria alpina. Plant with a compact tuft of basal leaves, and flowering stem with 2–3 pairs of leaves. Norway, Buskerud, Ål, Vats. 9 July, 1974. Phototograph by R. Borge. With permission of the Botanical Museum, University of Oslo, Norway.


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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