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 uralensis (Rupr.) Bocquet subsp. arctica (Th.Fr.) Bocquet

English: Nodding campion, mountain campion,

French: Silène de l'Oural,

Inuktitut: Pulluiujuit.

Caryophyllaceae, Pink family.

Published in Candollea 22: 27. 1967.

Type: Described from Svalbard.

Synonymy. Wahlbergella apetala (L.) Th.Fr. var. (b) arctica Th.Fr., Öfvers. Förh. Kongl. Svenska Vetensk.-Akad. 26, 2: 133. 1870.

Melandrium apetalum (L.) Fenzl subsp. arcticum (Th.Fr.) Hultén, Acta Univ. Lund., n. s., sect. 2, 40, 1: 700. 1944.

Gastrolychnis apetala (L.) Tolm. and Kozhanch. subsp. arctica (Th.Fr.) Á. Löve and D. Löve, Bot. Not. 128: 510. 1976.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 4–15(–30) cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose. Taproot present. Ground level or underground stems absent. Caudex present. Aerial stems erect. Aerial stem trichomes spreading, or erect. Leaves mainly basal; opposite; marcescent. Petioles absent. Leaf blade bases attenuate. Blades 10–40 mm long, 2–3(–5) mm wide, spreading, oblanceolate or spatulate (narrowly so), flat, appearing single-veined. Blade adaxial surface dull, glabrous or hairy, hairs pilose or strigose (if applicable), hairs simple. Blade abaxial surface glabrous or hairy, hairs pilose or strigose, hairs sparse, hairs white (if applicable). Blade margins with non-glandular hairs; apices acute.

Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems with leaves (usually 1–3 pairs of opposite linear leaves). Flowering stems hairy. Flowering stems villous. Flowering stem hairs simple; white or translucent and transparent with red cross-walls; glandular hairs present. Flowers solitary. Flowers medium-sized, or large. Sepals conventional; 5; fused; 10–18 mm wide; green and purple; membranous with prominent ribs (ribs purple); accrescent. Calyx bell-shaped (more or less inflated in flower and in fruit); 5-lobed; hairy. Calyx hairs pilose, or villous; glandular and non-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; same length as the calyx (or slightly longer); 5; white (in some lights reflecting purplish from the calyx); oblanceolate; deeply cleft; 10–18 mm long. Stamens 10; stamen filaments glabrous. Anthers yellow; ellipsoid; 0.4–0.6 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 5; syncarpous. Ovaries ovate; glabrous. Styles 5; free; 2.5–3.5 mm long. Stigmas per ovary 1. Placentation free central. Ovules per ovary 15–30. Fruit with calyx persisting; dry; a capsule; ovoid; yellowish, or brown; 10–15(–18) mm long; 4–6 mm wide; surface appearing veinless; dehiscent; opening with teeth at the top of the capsule; teeth 10 (recurved). Seeds numerous; 1.4–2(–2.5) mm long (circular to angular); brown; surfaces verrucose (with a flat wing about as broad as the body).

Chromosome information. 2n = 24.

2n (2x) = 24. Holmen (1952, Greenland); Jørgensen et al. (1958, Greenland); Hedberg (1967, northern Canada); Johnson and Packer (1968, northwestern Alaska); Mulligan and Porsild, in Löve (1970b); Zhukova and Petrovsky (1971, Wrangel Island); Zhukova and Tikhonova (1971, Chukotka); Zhukova et al. (1973, northeastern Asia); Packer and McPherson (1974, northern Alaska); Löve and Löve, in Löve (1975a); Löve and Löve (1982, Arctic Canada).

Ploidy levels recorded 2x.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: wet meadows, hummocks, marshes, along streams, river terraces, lakeshores (beach), tundra, slopes; imperfectly drained moist areas, seepage slopes, moderately well-drained areas; gravel, sand, silt, clay; with low organic content, with high organic content; acidic, or calcareous.

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, Devon, Ellesmere, Axel Heiberg, Parry islands (Bathurst, Melville, Prince Patrick), Cornwallis, Banks, Victoria, Prince of Wales, King William, Southampton, Coats (Bylot, Mill, Prince Charles, Salisbury, and Stefansson islands).

Northern hemisphere distribution. Circumpolar. 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. The Silene uralensis/wahlbergella complex is characterised by broad-winged seeds and comparatively little exserted petals. Within the complex, there is one very widespread, arctic circumpolar entity and several arctic-alpine, alpine, or boreal entities with much more restricted ranges. Elven et al. (2003) recognised the taxon occurring in the Canadian Arctic as Silene uralensis (Rupr.) Bocquet subsp. arctica (Th.Fr.) Bocquet (1967) and noted this is the only High Arctic entity of the aggregate. It occurs in northern Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Svalbard, Novaya Zemlya, and Vaigach. Only this entity, subsp. arctica, is represented in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

The naming of the major parts of this aggregate depends on how the relationship between the arctic circumpolar plant and the others is interpreted, as some of the alpine and arctic-alpine taxa were described earlier than the arctic one (Elven et al. 2003).

Bocquet (1969) accepted the local subspecies in Svalbard, subsp. arctica (based on var. arctica Th. Fr.). Petrovsky and Elven (in Elven et al. 2003) have studied specimens and found the Svalbard plant inseparable from the other northern arctic plants, and the arctica name is therefore applicable to the major arctic circumpolar entity. In Flora Nordica (Jonsell 2001a), Arto Kurtto treated Fennoscandian plants as a distinct species, S. wahlbergella, and the arctic plant as S. uralensis (Rupr.) Bocquet.

Morton (2005) uses Silene uralensis (Rupr.) Bocquet subsp. uralensis for the very widespread, arctic circumpolar entity within the complex. He recognises three subspecies of S. uralensis in North America, of which only subsp. uralensis is represented in the eastern Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Subspecies porsildii Bocquet is an Alaskan endemic with very large seeds that have a broad rugose wing. Subspecies ogilviensis (A.E. Porsild) Brunton is rare in scattered localities across the Low Arctic and is characterised by its taller, more slender, and usually glabrous stems.

Illustrations. • Habitat: Banks Island. Plants growing in a sheltered gully. Solitary flowers with petals that are the same length as the calyx. Note the calyx is bell-shaped, hangs down, and is more or less inflated. N.W.T., Banks Island, Sachs Harbour. 27 July, 1981. J.M. Gillett 18859. Scale bar in cm. • Habitat: Banks Island. Plants with solitary flowers in the early stages of setting seed. Note the changing position of the flowers from nodding to erect. N.W.T., Banks Island, Sachs Harbour. 27 July, 1981. J.M. Gillett 18859. • Habitat: Dorset. Note changing position of the flowers from nodding to erect as seed set proceeds. Iqaluit, Baffin Island, Cape Dorset. August, 2005. Aiken 05–093. CAN 586963. • Close-up of plants: Cape Dorset. In the process of fruit development the inflated calyx changes position from nodding in flower to erect when the capsule is fully developed inside the calyx (see later photos). Nunavut, Baffin Island, Cape Dorset. 7 August, 2005. No Voucher. Scale bar in cm. • Close-up of plant. Note the very strongly inflated calyx, in the flowering stage almost hyaline between the veins, and the scarcely emergent pale violet petals. The plant named as Silene wahlbergella has a less inflated calyx and petals that do not emerge. The earlier Linnaean epithet for both of these species is "apetala". Silene uralensis s.s. has emergent petals and a much less inflated calyx. Norway, Svalbard, Dickson Land, Odindalen Valley. August, 1996. Photograph by R. Elven. Voucher at 0. • Habitat: Southampton Island. Plant between the markers in fruiting stage. Nunavut, Southampton Island, Salliq (Coral Harbour), rocky outcrop near Northern Store. 6408'13"N, 8309'53"W. Aiken and Brysting 01–066. CAN. • Close-up of plant. Flowers beginning to set fruit. Nunavut, Southampton Island, Salliq (Coral Harbour), rocky outcrop near Northern Store. 6408'13"N, 8309'53"W. Aiken and Brysting 01–066. CAN. • Close-up of fruit. Fruit with calyx persisting and capsule protruding. Nunavut, Southampton Island, Salliq (Coral Harbour), rocky outcrop near Northern Store. 6408'13"N, 8309'53"W. Aiken and Brysting 01–066. CAN. • Close-up of calyx. Bladder calyx with prominent ribs. The calyx is erect as fruit development begins. Nunavut, Ellesmere Island, Scoresby Bay, 7953'N, 7133'W. Aiken 98–009. Photograph by Mollie MacCormac. Scale bar in cm. • Type specimen. Type of Lynchis neophila Polunin. Collected Mansfield Island, Hudsons Bay. 30 August,1884. R. Bell 2621. CAN 54784. • 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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