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

Silene ostenfeldii (A.E. Porsild) J.K. Morton

English: Ostenfeld's sandwort.

Caryophyllaceae, Pink family.

Published in Sida 21: 886. 2004.

Type: Canada, N.W.T., Great Bear Lake, Dease Arm, Narakay Island, 66°45'N, 119°30'W, 01.08.1928, A.E. Porsild and R.T. Porsild 483. Holotype: CAN.

Synonymy. Melandrium ostenfeldii A.E. Porsild, Sargentia 4: 37. 1943.

Lychnis ostenfeldii (A.E. Porsild) B. Boivin, Canad. Field-Naturalist 65: 6. 1951.

Gastrolychnis ostenfeldii (A.E. Porsild) V.V. Petrovsky, Bot. Zhurn. (Moscow and Leningrad) 58: 119. 1973.

Lychnis triflora R. Br. ex Sommerf. var. dawsonii B.L. Robinson, Proc. Amer. Acad. 28: 149. 1893.

Melandrium dawsonii (B.L. Robinson) Hultén, Acta Univ. Lund., n. f., avd. 2, 40, 1: 701. 1944.

Lychnis dawsonii (B.L. Robinson) J.P. Anderson, Iowa State Coll. J. Sci. 20: 251. 1946.

Gastrolychnis triflora (R. Br. ex Sommerf.) Tolm. and Kozhanch. subsp. dawsonii (B.L. Robinson) Á. Löve and D. Löve, Bot. Not. 128: 510. 1976.

Melandrium taimyrensis auct. amer., non Tolm. 1932; Trav. Mus. Bot. Acad. Sci. URSS. 24: 264. 1932.

Lychnis taimyrensis (Tolm.) Polunin, Circumpolar Arctic Fl. 180. 1959.

Lychnis ostenfeldii (A.E. Porsild) B. Boivin, Can. Field-Nat. 65:6. 1951.

Melandrium dawsonii (B.L. Robinson) Hultén, Fl. of Alaska and Yukon, 701. 1944.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 7–20(–30) cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose (densely so). Taproot present (often very stout). Ground level or underground stems absent. Caudex present (at ground-level). Aerial stems erect. Aerial stem trichomes spreading, or erect. Leaves mainly basal; opposite; marcescent. Petioles absent. Leaf blade bases attenuate. Leaves not grass-like. Blades 10–30(–50) mm long, 1–5 mm wide, spreading, linear (or spatulate, narrowly so), flat, appearing single-veined. Blade adaxial surface dull, hairy, hairs strigose, hairs simple. Blade abaxial surface glabrous or hairy, hairs pilose or strigose, hairs sparse or moderately dense, hairs white (if applicable). Blade margins with non-glandular hairs; apices acute.

Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems with leaves (usually 2–3 pairs of opposite linear leaves). Flowering stems hairy. Flowering stems pubescent, or villous. Flowering stem hairs simple; white or translucent and transparent with red cross-walls (especially towards the upper part of the plant); glandular hairs present (not viscid). Flowers in inflorescences, or solitary. Inflorescences with flowers in a dichasium. Flowers per inflorescence 1–3 (rarely with 1–2 flowers at lower nodes); medium-sized. Sepals conventional; 5; fused; 7–10 mm wide; green and purple; membranous with prominent ribs (ribs purple); accrescent. Calyx sub-cylindrical (not strongly inflated); 5-lobed; hairy. Calyx hairs pubescent, or villous; glandular; transparent with red cross-walls (especially on the ribs). Calyx teeth equal or nearly so; without or with few glandular verrucae; 1.2–2 mm long (with broad purple tinged membranous margins). Petals conventional; free; longer than the calyx; 5; white; oblanceolate; deeply cleft; 8–12 mm long (much exserted). Stamens 10; stamen filaments glabrous. Anthers yellow; ellipsoid; 0.8–1.1 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 5; syncarpous. Ovaries oblong; glabrous. Styles 5; free; 0.5–1.5 mm long. Stigmas per ovary 1. Placentation free central. Ovules per ovary 40–60. Fruit with calyx persisting; dry; a capsule; oblong; yellowish; 6–9 mm long; 4–5 mm wide; surface appearing veinless; dehiscent; opening with teeth at the top of the capsule; teeth 5 (recurved). Seeds numerous; 0.6–1 mm long (angular); brown; surfaces verrucose (wingless).

Chromosome information. 2n = 72.

2n (6x) = 72. Knaben (1968, Alaska, as Melandrium taimyrense, referred by Löve and Löve 1975 as Gastrolychnis triflora subsp. dawsonii); Zhukova et al. (1977, northeastern Asia); Zhukova and Petrovsky (1987b, western Chukotka, as G. ostenfeldii).

Ploidy levels recorded 6x.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: along streams, river terraces, slopes, ridges, cliffs; dry, moderately well-drained areas; rocks, gravel, sand, clay; with low organic content; calcareous. Well-drained calcareous gravel and sandy river terraces (CAN 489208); sandy soil near airstrip (CAN 271443).

North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories Islands, continental Northwest Territories, continental Nunavut (?). Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago limited. Uncommon. Arctic. Arctic islands: Banks, Victoria.

Northern hemisphere distribution. Amphi-Beringian. Yana–Kolyma, West Chukotka, Wrangel Island (?), North Alaska – Yukon (?), Central Canada.

General notes. Elven et al. (2003) noted that this is a northwestern North American – Beringian taxon, with its main distribution in western North America but with only a few localities in the Islands (Victoria and Banks Islands). Popp et al. (2003) showed that this species, belonging to the Silene involucrata aggregate, shares one genome from the 'uralensis' lineage and the 'linnaeana' lineage with both and a second genome from the 'linnaeana' lineage with S. sorensenis. It differs from S. sorensenis by having smaller seeds and calyces, shorter and less woolly pubescence, and overall by being a less sturdy plant. It differs from S. involucrata by the wingless seeds and the more elliptic than campanulate calyx.

Illustrations. • Close-up of plant. Leaves mainly in a basal tuft with opposite stem leaves. Plants growing in a sheltered gully. N.W.T., Banks Island, Sachs Harbour. 27 July, 1981. J.M. Gillett 18858. • Close-up of inflorescence. Note erect inflorescence, limited branching, and narrow calyx. N.W.T., Mackenzie District, Cape Bathurst. August, 1999. Photograph by R. Elven. Voucher at 0. • Close-up of inflorescence. Note exserted but comparatively short petals. N.W.T., Mackenzie District, Cape Bathurst. August, 1999. Photograph by R. Elven. Voucher at 0. • 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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