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

Stellaria humifusa Rottb.

English: Salt-marsh starwort, low sandwort,

French: Stellaire déprimée, sabline rampante,

Inuktitut: Siuraup nunaranga.

Caryophyllaceae, Pink family.

Published in Skr. Kiøbenhavnske Selsk. Lærd. Elsk. 10: 447. 1770.

Type: Illustration in Rottbøll, Skr. Kiøbenhavnske Selsk. Lærd. Elsk. 10: 447. 1770, selected by Jonsell, Nord. J. Bot. 16: 6. 1996. Lectotoype.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 2–4(–8) cm high; perennial herbs. Only fibrous roots present. Ground level or underground stems horizontal; stoloniferous; elongate; 0.5–1 mm wide. Horizontal stems at ground level, branching extensively to shape plant habit as mats. Caudex absent. Aerial stems erect, or decumbent; not filiform. Leaves present; distributed along the stems; opposite; marcescent. Petioles absent. Leaf blade bases attenuate. Blades 2–10(–15) mm long, 1–5 mm wide, spreading, elliptic or ovate, flat, appearing single-veined or with inconspicuous veins. Blade adaxial surface dull, glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glabrous. Blade margins glabrous; apices acute.

Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems two or more per plant; with leaves. Flowers solitary (usually), or in inflorescences. Inflorescences with flowers in a dichasium (if applicable); lateral. Flowers per inflorescence 1–3; small, or medium-sized. Sepals conventional; 5; free; 4–6 mm wide; green; herbaceous. Calyx glabrous. Petals conventional; free; longer than the calyx; 5; white; obovate; deeply cleft (almost to the base); 5–7 mm long. Stamens 10; stamen filaments glabrous. Anthers yellow; ellipsoid; 0.4–0.6 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 3; syncarpous. Ovaries ovate; glabrous. Styles 3; free; 1.5–1.8 mm long. Stigmas per ovary 1. Placentation free central. Ovules per ovary 10–20. Fruit with calyx persisting; dry; a capsule; ovoid; straw-coloured; 3–5 mm long; 2–3 mm wide; surface appearing veinless; dehiscent; opening with teeth at the top of the capsule; teeth 6. Seeds several; 0.6–1 mm long; brown; surfaces smooth (slightly rugose).

Chromosome information. 2n = 26.

2n (2x) = 26. Flovik (1940, Svalbard); Sørensen and Westergaard in Löve and Löve (1948, Greenland); Löve and Löve (1956, Iceland; 1982, Arctic Canada); Jørgensen et al. (1958, Greenland); Mosquin and Hayley (1966, northern Canada, 2n = about 24); Zhukova (1966, northeastern Asia); Hedberg (1967, northern Canada); Taylor and Mulligan (1968, western Canada); Johnson and Packer (1968, northwesten Alaska); Zhukova and Petrovsky (1972, northeastern Asia, 1976, western Chukotka); Pojar (1973, western Canada); Zhukova and Tikhonova (1973, Chukotka); Packer and McPherson (1974, northern Alaska); Zhukova and Petrovsky (1976, western Chukotka); Engelskjøn (1979, northern Norway); Chinnappa and Chmielewski (1987, western North America); Dalgaard (1989, western Greenland).

Ploidy levels recorded 2x.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: wet meadows (brackish and occasionally flooded), marshes, seashores (sheltered beaches); imperfectly drained moist areas, seepage slopes; gravel, sand, silt; with low organic content, with high organic content; acidic, or halophytic. Wide ranging, sea shore species ubiquitous along sheltered beaches and in brackish and occasionally flooded meadows where it is often associated with sedges and grasses (Porsild and Cody 1980).

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, Banks, Victoria, Somerset, King William, Southampton (Igloolik, Mill, Prince Charles, Salisbury, Stefansson).

Northern hemisphere distribution. Circumpolar, or circumboreal (slightly). Northern Iceland, Northern Fennoscandian, Kanin–Pechora, Svalbard – Franz Joseph Land, Polar Ural – Novaya Zemlya, Yamal–Gydan, Taimyr – Severnaya Zemlya, 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. This species is often confused with S. crassifolia, but it has thicker stems and fleshy leaves that wrinkle and tend to turn brownish when dried.

Illustrations. • Habitat: Cape Dorset. Plants near the marker and occasional in the saline meadow with Puccinellia phryganodes. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Cape Dorset. 4 August, 2005. Aiken. No voucher. • Habitat. The orange reddish colours are dense mats of plants with reddish stems. Plants growing prostrate on and sprawling across imperfectly drained mud flats of an extensive salt meadow. N.W.T., Tuktoyaktuk. Aiken and Brysting 2001. No Voucher. Scale bar in cm. • Close-up of plant. Reddish plants growing in dense mats on an exposed sandy and salty area. Note the plants that are flowering are possibly growing in slightly elevated microhabitats. N.W.T., Tuktoyaktuk, near the airport. Aiken and Brysting 2001. • Habitat. Very green plants growing erect in fresh standing water. Manitoba, Churchill, Beech Bay, in the tidal estuary of the Churchill River, south of the Port, 5844'N, 9410'W. Aiken and Brysting 01–022. CAN. • Close-up of plant. Plants growing prostrate on, and sprawling across, imperfectly drained mud flats in an extensive salt meadow. Manitoba, Churchill, Beech Bay, in the tidal estuary of the Churchill River, south of the Port, 5844'N, 9410'W. Aiken and Brysting 01–022. CAN. Scale bar in cm. • Close-up of plant. Note the leaves are fleshy and opposite. Both leaves and stems are somewhat thicker than those of Stellaria crassifolia. Manitoba, Churchill, Beech Bay, in the tidal estuary of the Churchill River, south of the Port, 5844'N, 9410'W. Aiken and Brysting 01–022. CAN. • Flowering plants. Stellaria humifusa the dominating plant in a clayey salt-marsh, with scattered shoots of Puccinellia phryganodes (subsp. vilfoidea). Norway, Svalbard, Dickson Land, Vestfjorden. August, 1996. Photograph by R. Elven. Voucher at 0. • Close-up of flower. The 5 petals are deeply cleft and longer than the calyx. Note the 10 stamens, with the inner whorl at anthesis and the outer whorl still at pre-anthesis, and 3 styles just beginning to separate. Manitoba, Churchill, Beech Bay, in the tidal estuary of the Churchill River, south of the Port, 5844'N, 9410'W. Aiken and Brysting 01–022. CAN. • Close-up of flower. The 5 petals are deeply cleft and longer than the calyx. Note the 10 stamens at post-anthesis, and the 4 styles (there are usually 3). Manitoba, Churchill, Beech Bay, in the tidal estuary of the Churchill River, south of the Port, 5844'N, 9410'W. Aiken and Brysting 01–022. CAN. • Drawing of plant. Drawing by Mrs. S. Bergh and Mrs. L. Barstad based on a collection from Svalbard, Dickson Land, Dickson Bay, Dicksondalen, 5 km north of Fiskenes. 15 August, 1924. J. Lid. O 203781. 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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