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

Cerastium beeringianum Cham. and Schltdl.

English: Bering mouse-ear chickweed.

Caryophyllaceae, Pink family.

Published in Linnaea 1: 62. 1826.

Type: Alaska, Sin. Kotzebue (Eschscholtz Bay), 1816, leg. Chamisso. Holotype: B.

Synonymy. Cerastium earlei Rydberg, Bull Torrey Bot. Club, 249. 1903.

Cerastium bialynickii Tolm., Trav. Mus. Bot. Acad. Sci. URSS 21: 81. 1927.

Cerastium beeringianum Cham. and Schltdl. subsp. bialynickii (Tolm.) Tolm. (1971), Fl. Arct. URSS 6: 45. 1971.

Cerastium beeringianum Cham. and Schltdl. var. grandiflorum (Fenzl) Hultén, Fl. Aleut. Isl. 165. 1937.

Cerastium beeringianum Cham. and Schltdl. subsp. jenisejense In A.K. Skvortsove (ed) Florist issl. vrazn. raionakh SSSR: 166. 1985.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 1.5–20(–25) cm high; perennial herbs. Taproot present (slender). Ground level or underground stems horizontal (southern plants), or absent; rhizomatous, or stoloniferous (possibly); elongate; 0.5–1.2 mm wide. Horizontal stems at ground level, branching extensively to shape plant habit as mats (dense), or cushions. Caudex absent. Aerial stems erect, or decumbent. Aerial stem trichomes spreading, or erect, or retrorse (on lower internodes, often only as bristles). Leaves present; distributed along the stems, or mainly basal; opposite; marcescent. Petioles absent. Leaf blade bases cuneate, or attenuate. Blades (7–)9–12(–15) mm long, (1.5–)2–4(–5) mm wide, spreading, oblong or elliptic or lanceolate, flat, appearing single-veined. Blade adaxial surface dull, hairy or glabrous (southern plants), hairs pilose or villous (strigose), hairs simple and glandular, hairs sparse or moderately dense, hairs white, or translucent. Blade abaxial surface hairy or glabrous (southern plants), hairs pilose or villous or strigose, hairs sparse or moderately dense, hairs white. Blade margins with non-glandular hairs and with glandular hairs; apices acute, or obtuse (more rarely).

Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems with leaves. Flowering stems hairy. Flowering stems pubescent, or villous. Flowering stem hairs simple; white or translucent; glandular hairs present. Flowers in inflorescences (very rarely solitary). Inflorescences with flowers in a dichasium. Inflorescence main branches angle of divergence 30–60˚, or 60–90˚. Bract leaves 2.5–3 mm long; 0.6–1 mm wide; with a distinct scarious margin; margins less than 0.3 mm. Flowers per inflorescence 1 2–5(–7); small, or medium-sized. Sepals conventional. Calyx base widely angled, or rounded. Sepals 5; free; (1–)1.2–2 mm long; (2–)4–7(–9) mm wide; green, or green and purple; herbaceous and scarious (0.25–0.5 mm broad, scarious margins). Calyx hairy. Calyx hairs villous; glandular and non-glandular; white or translucent. Petals conventional; free; longer than the calyx; 5; white; obtriangular; notched; 5–8(–12) mm long (usually not much longer than sepals); 2.5–4 mm wide. Stamens 10; stamen filaments glabrous. Anthers yellow; ellipsoid; 0.4–0.6 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 5; syncarpous. Ovaries oblong (slightly broader in basal parts); glabrous. Styles 5; free; 2–3 mm long. Stigmas per ovary 1. Placentation free central. Ovules per ovary 20–40. Fruit with calyx persisting; dry; a capsule; elongate-cylindrical; straw-coloured; 8–9(–12) mm long; 2–3 mm wide; surface appearing veinless; mouth curved; dehiscent; opening with teeth at the top of the capsule; teeth 10. Seeds numerous; 0.7–0.9(–1.1) mm long; brown (reddish); surfaces tuberculate.

Chromosome information. 2n = 72.

2n (4x) = 72. Söllner (1954); Zhukova (1965a, eastern Chukotka; 1968 northeastern Asia; 1969, northern and northeastern Asia, as 'bialynickii'; 1980, southern Chukotka); Johnson and Packer (1968, northwestern Alaska); Mulligan and Porsild (1969, 1970, Yukon); Ugborogho (1972); Zhukova and Petrovsky (1972, Wrangel Island, 2n = about 70); Zhukova et al. (1977, northeastern Asia); Löve and Löve (1982, Arctic Canada). Supposed basic chromosome number of family 9.

Ploidy levels recorded 8x.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: hummocks, snow patches, river terraces, tundra, slopes, ridges; imperfectly drained moist areas, solifluction slopes, dry, moderately well-drained areas; rocks, gravel, sand, silt, clay; with low organic content; acidic, or calcareous, or nitrophilous.

North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories Islands, continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec, Labrador. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago widespread. Common. Arctic. Arctic islands: Baffin, Ellesmere, Axel Heiberg, Parry islands (Amund Ringnes, Bathurst, Eglington, Ellef Ringnes, Emerald, Lougheed, and Mackenzie King Islands), Cornwallis, Banks, Victoria, Prince of Wales, Somerset, King William, Southampton (Melville Peninsula).

Northern hemisphere distribution. Circumpolar, or amphi-Beringian (very broadly). Svalbard – Franz Joseph Land (?), Polar Ural – Novaya Zemlya, Yamal–Gydan, Taimyr – Severnaya Zemlya, Anabar–Olenyok, Kharaulakh, Yana–Kolyma, West Chukotka, Wrangel Island, South Chukotka, East Chukotka, West Alaska, North Alaska – Yukon, Central Canada, Labrador – Hudson Bay, Ellesmere Land – Peary Land, West Greenland (?), East Greenland (?).

General notes. Cerastium beeringianum is fairly well separated from C. arcticum, but the two species tend to intergrade in the eastern part of the Canadian Arctic. Integradation between the two ploidy levels represented by C. beeringianum and C. arcticum is probably possible, but should not be assumed just because some specimens are difficult to identify.

Small plants with a distinct cushion-like growth and with small flowers borne on short pedicels are common in High Arctic areas. Similar dwarf plants are found in the northernmost Russian and Siberian areas and possibly also in Greenland. The name C. bialynickii Tolm. has been generally applied for the Russian/Siberian dwarf plants, but if these plants are recognised as a distinct taxon, C. bialynickii would not be the correct name for it. The type material of C. bialynickii (in LE) is not significantly different from C. beeringianum, as this taxon is typified (Petrovsky, Brysting, and Elven, in Elven et al. 2003), and C. bialynickii is here considered a synonym of C. beeringianum. Preliminary studies indicate that the 'arctic dwarf' might be recognisable as a taxon that is as yet nameless (Elven et al. 2003).

More or less glabrous plants are mainly found in southeastern areas, but also occur on continental North America opposite Victoria Island and on western Banks Island (specimens in O). These plants, usually with horizontal stems trailing along the ground, are taller and less compact than more northern plants.

Hultén (1937a, 1944, 1956) separated several infraspecific taxa within C. beeringianum. Plants with leaves more or less glabrous were described as var. glabratum Hultén and considered to be the result of gene exchange with C. regelii; plants from Alaska, with large flowers and larger and more acute leaves, were described as var. grandiflorum (Fenzl) Hultén; plants from the Rocky Mountains, with more glabrous leaves and very short and fine pubescence on the pedicels, were described as subsp. earlei (Rydberg) Hultén. A serpentine and limestone form from southern Labrador and Newfoundland with a caespitose growth form, yellowish foliage, larger flowers, and larger seeds was considered subsp. terrae-novae (Fernald and Wiegand) Hultén. This taxon is treated as a distinct species by Morton (2005), C. terra-novae Fernald and Wiegand (personal communication, 2002).

Illustrations. • Habitat. Plants between the markers growing with moss in a dry organic substrate on a rocky shoreline. Nunavut, Salliq (Coral Harbour), coastline east of the Northern Store, 6408'13"N, 8309'53"W. Aiken and Brysting 01–075. CAN. Scale bar in cm. • Close-up of plant. Plants growing with moss in a dry organic substrate at a rocky shoreline. Nunavut, Salliq (Coral Harbour), coastline east of the Northern Store, 6408'13"N, 8309'53"W. Aiken and Brysting 01–075. CAN. Scale bar in cm. • Close-up of leaves. Opposite oblong or elliptic leaves with hairs sparse or moderately dense. Nunavut, Salliq (Coral Harbour), coastline east of the Northern Store, 6408'13"N, 8309'53"W. Aiken and Brysting 01–075. CAN. • Close-up of stem. Close-up of stem hairs on lower internodes that are short and retrorsed (downward pointing bristles). Nunavut, Salliq (Coral Harbour), coastline east of the Northern Store, 6408'13"N, 8309'53"W. Aiken and Brysting 01–075. CAN. • Close-up of inflorescence. Inflorescence a dichasium. Nunavut, Southampton Island, Salliq (Coral Harbour), coastline east of the Northern Store, 6408'13"N, 8309'53"W. Aiken and Brysting 01–075. CAN. • Close-up of flower. Calyx base widely angled. Note the 2-lobed petals are longer than the sepals. Nunavut, Southampton Island, Salliq (Coral Harbour), coastline east of the Northern Store, 6408'13"N, 8309'53"W. Aiken and Brysting 01–075. CAN. • Close-up of fruit. Capsule elongate-cylindrical, opening with 10 teeth. Note the curved mouth of the capsule. N.W.T., Tuktoyaktuk, the automatic D.E.W. (Defense Early Warning) line site, 6926'36''N, 13301'21''W. Aiken and Brysting 01–121. CAN. • Habitat. Small plants (next to white scale bars) with a distinct cushion-like growth form, growing in a clay polygon tundra. Nunavut, Resolute Bay, at the top of Satellite Hill, 7468'N, 9448'W. Aiken and Brysting 01–126. CAN. • Close-up of plant. Small plants with a distinct cushion-like growth form, growing in clay polygon tundra. Nunavut, Resolute Bay, at the top of Satellite Hill, 7468'N, 9448'W. Aiken and Brysting 01–126. CAN. Scale bar in cm. • Close-up of plant. Plants less than 5 cm high, with a distinct cushion-like growth form, growing in a clay polygon tundra. Nunavut, Resolute Bay, at the top of Satellite Hill, 7468'N, 9448'W. Aiken and Brysting 01–126. CAN. Scale bar in cm. • 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.

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