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

Minuartia biflora (L.) Schinz and Thellung

English: Mountain sandwort,

French: Minuartie à deux fleurs.

Caryophyllaceae, Pink family.

Published in Bull. Herb. Boissier, sér. 2, 7: 404. 1907.

Type: Selected by Jonsell and Jarvis, Nord. J. Bot. 14: 159. 1994. Lectotype: LINN 584.11.

Synonymy. Stellaria biflora L., Sp. Pl. 422. 1753.

Lidia biflora (L.) Á. Löve and D. Löve, Bot. Not. 128: 510. 1976.

Arenaria sajanensis Willd. ex Schltdl., Ges. Naturf. Freunde Berlin Mag. Neuesten Entdeck. Gesammten Naturk. 7: 200. 1815.

Vegetative morphology. Plants (1–)4–8 cm high; perennial herbs; not caespitose (matted). Taproot present. Ground level or underground stems horizontal, or absent; stoloniferous; compact, or elongate; 0.5–1.5 mm wide. Horizontal stems at ground level, branching extensively to shape plant habit as mats (that are dense with widely creeping, firm, and almost sub-ligneous stems). Caudex absent. Aerial stems ascending, or decumbent. Aerial stem trichomes spreading, or erect. Leaves present; distributed along the stems; opposite; marcescent. Petioles absent. Leaf blade bases cuneate. Blades 5–12 mm long, 0.5–2 mm wide, spreading or divaricate, linear, flat or folded, with inconspicuous veins. Blade adaxial surface dull, glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glabrous. Blade margins with non-glandular hairs; apices acute.

Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems two or more per plant; with leaves. Flowering stems hairy. Flowering stems pubescent. Flowering stem hairs simple; white or translucent; glandular hairs present. Flowers solitary, or in inflorescences (rarely). Inflorescences with flowers in a dichasium. Flowers per inflorescence (1–)2–3; small. Sepals conventional; 5; free; 3–4.2(–5.2) mm wide; green and purple (soon whitish); herbaceous and scarious. Calyx hairy. Calyx hairs glandular and non-glandular; white or translucent. Petals conventional; free; longer than the calyx; 5; white; oblanceolate; unlobed; 4–4.5(–5.8) mm long. Stamens 10; stamen filaments glabrous. Anthers yellow; ellipsoid; 0.2–0.6 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 3; syncarpous. Ovaries ovate; glabrous. Styles 3; free; 1.2–1.5 mm long. Stigmas per ovary 1. Placentation free central. Ovules per ovary 8–15. Fruit with calyx persisting; dry; a capsule; ovoid; straw-coloured; 4–6 mm long; 1.5–2 mm wide; surface appearing veinless; dehiscent; opening with teeth at the top of the capsule (splitting almost to the base); teeth 3. Seeds several; 0.7–1 mm long; brown; surfaces smooth.

Chromosome information. 2n = 26.

2n (2x) = 26. Löve and Löve (1956, Iceland); Zhukova (1966, northeastern Asia; 1980, southern Chukotka); Knaben and Engelskjøn (1967, southern Norway); Hedberg (1967, northern Canada); Packer, in Löve (1968, northwestern Canada); Engelskjøn (1979, northern Norway); Dalgaard (1989, western Greenland).

Ploidy levels recorded 2x.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: slopes, ridges; moderately well-drained areas; rocks, gravel; with low organic content; acidic, or calcareous (As opposed to almost all the other arctic species of the genus (s. lat.), this one is mainly acidophilous or at least mainly on more humic substrates (except for a distinct preference for ultrabasic sites, also shared by some other otherwise acidophilous species like Juncus trifidus, Trichophorum cespitosum, Viscaria alpina, and Eriophorum varinatum (Elven, personal communication, 2005).).

North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories Islands, continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec, Labrador. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago limited. Uncommon. Low Arctic, alpine. Arctic islands: Baffin, Axel Heiberg, Banks, Victoria, Somerset (Akpatok).

Northern hemisphere distribution. Circumpolar, or circumboreal (arctic-alpine). Northern Iceland, Northern Fennoscandian, Kanin–Pechora, Svalbard – Franz Joseph Land, Polar Ural – Novaya Zemlya, Yamal–Gydan, Taimyr – Severnaya Zemlya, Anabar–Olenyok, Kharaulakh, 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.

Illustrations. • Habitat: Baffin Island, Ogac Lake. Tiny plants with white flowers between the markers, growing in black muck beside a runoff stream. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Ogac Lake. 11 July, 2004. Aiken and LeBlanc 04–061. CAN 586531. • Habit: Norway. Plant growing in crevices among rocks. Norway, Sør-Trøndelag, Røros, Osthåmmaren (serpentine). June, 1973. Photograph by R. Elven. • Close-up of plants. Note simple linear, almost succulent leaves, flower buds with dark pink tips to the sepals, flowers with 5 petals and 3 stigmas. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Ogac Lake. 11 July, 2004. Aiken and LeBlanc 04–061. CAN 586531. • Close-up of leaves and a flower. Note minute hairs on semi-succulent leaves, sepals that are dark on the outside and green on the inside, and much shorter than the petals, young stigma with three styles. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Ogac Lake. 11 July, 2004. Aiken and LeBlanc 04–061. CAN 586531. • Close-up of flower. Flowers with 5 green sepals much shorter than the 5 free white petals, 10 anthers, and 3 stigmas. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Ogac Lake. 11 July, 2004. Aiken and LeBlanc 04–061. CAN 586531. • Drawing of plant. Drawing by Mrs. S. Bergh and Mrs. L. Barstad based on a collection from Svalbard. With permission of the Botanical Museum, University of Oslo, Norway. • 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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