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 longipes Goldie

English: Long-stalked starwort, Goldie's starwort,

French: Stellaire à longs pédicelles,

Inuktitut: Miqqaviat (Nunavik).

Caryophyllaceae, Pink family.

Published in Edinburgh Philos. J. 6: 327. 1822.

Type: Canada: Ontario, Kingston, near Odessa, on natural prairie on limestone, 13.06.1972, leg. Morton NA5101, selected by Chinnappa and Morton, Rhodora 93: 131. 1991. Neotype. E.

Synonymy. Names in bold are used by arctic field botanists who find it possible to recognise several entities as extreme expressions in the S. longipes complex.

Stellaria ciliatosepala Trautv., in Middend., Reise Sibir. 1, 2, 1: 52. 1856. Described from northern Siberia, Taimyr River, from 74°N to the mouth, type in LE.

Stellaria arctica Schischk., in Kom., Fl. URSS 6: 418, 881. 1936. p. p.

Stellaria ciliatosepala Trautv. var. arctica (Schischk.) Hultén, Bot. Not. 1943: 258. 943. p. p. -v.

Stellaria crassipes Hultén, Bot. Not. 1943: 261.1943. Described from northern Sweden: Nissontjårro, leg. H.Smith, type probably in S.

Stellaria longipes f. humilis (Fenzl) Ostenfeld ex Grøentved, Vasc. Pl. N. America 39. 1936.

Stellaria edwardsii R. Br., Chloris Melvill. 13. 1823. Described from northern Canada: Melville Island, type in BM.

Stellaria arctica Schischk. in Kom., Fl. URSS 6: 418, 881. 1936. p. p.

Stellaria laeta Richardson, Bot. App. 738. 1823. Described from Canada: Barren Grounds northeast of Great Bear Lake.

Stellaria monantha Hultén, Bot. Not. 1943: 265. 1943. - Type: Alaska: Muir Glacier, 13.06.1899, leg. Kincaid. Holotype: S.

Stellaia longipes subsp. monantha (Hultén) W. A. Weber, Phytologia 51: 376. 1982.

Stellaria stricta Richardson (1823), Bot. App., ed. 2, 15. 1823. A mainly boreal entity that reaches the Arctic east of the Mackenzie River delta and around Hudson Bay.

Stellaria subvestita Greene, Ottawa Natural. 15: 42. 1901. CAN.

Stellaria longipes var. subvestita (Greene) Polunin, Bull. Natl. Mus. Canada 94 (Biol. Ser. 24): 192. 1940.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 1.5–10(–30) cm high; perennial herbs; sometimes vegetatively proliferating by bulbils on stems or leaves (reproduction almost always by this method at high latitudes). Only fibrous roots present. Ground level or underground stems horizontal; stoloniferous; elongate; 0.5–1.5 mm wide. Caudex absent. Aerial stems decumbent. Aerial stem trichomes spreading, or erect. Leaves present; distributed along the stems; opposite; marcescent. Petioles absent. Leaf blade bases attenuate. Leaves not grass-like. Blades 5–15(–40) mm long, 1–4 mm wide, spreading, lanceolate or ovate, strongly keeled, appearing single-veined or with inconspicuous veins. Blade adaxial surface dull or glaucous, glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glabrous. Blade margins glabrous; 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 (if applicable). Flowers solitary, or in inflorescences. Inflorescences with flowers in a dichasium (if applicable). Flowers per inflorescence 1–6; medium-sized. Sepals conventional; 5; free; 3.5–5 mm wide; green, or green and purple; herbaceous and scarious (on the margins). Calyx without sessile glands; glabrous, or hairy (in S. edwardsii ciliated and in S. laeta pubescent on the back, see notes). Calyx hairs glandular, or non-glandular; white or translucent (if applicable). Petals conventional; free; longer than the calyx; 5; white; obovate; deeply cleft (almost to the base); 3–8 mm long. Stamens 10; stamen filaments glabrous. Anthers red; ellipsoid; 0.8–1 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 3; syncarpous. Ovaries ovate; glabrous. Styles 3; free; 2.5–3 mm long. Stigmas per ovary 1. Placentation free central. Ovules per ovary 15–25. Fruit with calyx persisting; dry; a capsule; ovoid; black, or straw-coloured (rarely); 4–6 mm long; 2–2.5 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 verrucose.

Chromosome information. 2n = 26–106.

2n = 26. Cai and Chinnappa (1989, as S. longipes s.s.);

2n = 36. Zhukova (1965a, as S. edwardsii);

2n = 52. Böcher and Larsen (1950, as S. longipes s.s.); Böcher (1952, as S. longipes s.s.); Mosquin and Hayley (1966, as S. edwardsii); Zhukova (1968, as S. monantha); Zhukova and Petrovsky (1975, 1976, 1980, 1987b, as S. laeta, S. monantha); Chinnappa and Morton (1984, as S. longipes s.s.); Antonova and Petrovsky (1986, as S. monantha); Chinnappa and Chmielewski (1987, as S. longipes s.s.); MacDonald and Chinnappa (1988, as S. longipes s.s.);

2n = 72. Mosquin and Hayley (1966, as S. laeta); Zhukova and Tikhonova (1971, as S. crassipes); Petrovsky and Zhukova (1981, as S. edwardsii);

2n = 78. Knaben (1968, as S. edwardsii); Mulligan and Porsild (1970, as S. laeta); Zhukova (1980, as S. laeta); Chinnappa and Morton (1984, as S. longipes s.s.); Antonova and Petrovsky (1986, as S. monantha); Chinnappa and Chmielewski (1987, as S. longipes s.s.); MacDonald and Chinnappa (1988, as S. longipes s.s.).

2n = about 80. Petrovsky and Zhukova (1981, as S. edwardsii);

2n = 84. Zhukova (1968, as S. laeta); Zhukova and Petrovsky (1971, as S. laeta); Antonova and Petrovsky (1986, as S. crassipes);

2n about 91. Packer and McPherson (1974, as S. laeta); Löve and Löve (1982, as S. edwardsii);

2n = 94. Antonova and Petrovsky (1986, as S. crassipes);

2n = about 100. Antonova and Petrovsky (1986, as S. crassipes, S. edwardsii); Zhukova and Petrovsky (1971, as S. edwardsii); Zhukova et al. (1973, as S. edwardsii).

2n = 103. Antonova and Petrovsky (1986, as S. edwardsii);

2n = 104. Flovik (1940, as S. crassipes); Böcher and Larsen (1950, as S. monantha); Jørgensen et al. (1958, as S. monantha); Hedberg (1967, as S. crassipes); Johnson and Packer (1968, as S. crassipes, S. monantha); Petrovsky and Zhukova (1981, as S. crassipes, S. edwardsii); Löve and Löve (1982, as S. monantha); Chinnappa and Morton (1984, as S. longipes s.s.); Antonova and Petrovsky (1986, as S. crassipes, S. edwardsii); Chinnappa and Chmielewski (1987, as S. longipes s.s.); Zhukova and Petrovsky (1987b, as S. monantha); MacDonald and Chinnappa (1988, as S. longipes s.s.); Jonsell (2001a, as S. crassipes);

2n = 104–106. Engelskjøn (1979, as S. crassipes).

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: wet meadows, river terraces, tundra, slopes, ridges, barrens, flood plains; seepage slopes, dry, moderately well-drained areas; rocks, gravel, sand, moss; with low organic content, peat; calcareous, or non-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 and alpine. Arctic islands: Baffin, Devon, Ellesmere, Axel Heiberg, Parry islands (Bathurst, Eglington, Emerald, Meigen, Melville), Cornwallis, Banks, Victoria, Prince of Wales, Somerset, King William, Southampton (Queen Elizabeth Islands, Bylot, Igloolik, Nottingham, Prince Charles, and Mansel islands).

Northern hemisphere distribution. Circumpolar, or circumboreal. Kanin–Pechora, 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. Stellaria longipes is a highly polymorphic circumpolar species complex, and the treatment of the complex has varied from the recognition of one wide species (see Chinnappa 1985 for review) to the acceptance of more than 10 separate species by Hultén (1943, 1968) and Porsild and Cody (1980).

Philipp (1972), working with the Greenland populations, and Chinnappa and Morton (1974), using data from the whole range of the complex in North America, demonstrated that though there is wide variation in chromosome numbers 2n = 51 to 106, the major ploidy levels are 4x (2n = 52), 6x (2n = 78), and 8x (2n = 104). There is no correlation between chromosome number and the morphology of the plants. Furthermore, it has been possible to cross the different cytotypes and synthesise the range of chromosome numbers observed in natural populations (Chinnappa and Morton 1974). Pollen and seed fertility in these synthesised cytotypes were high, and it was concluded that because S. longipes possesses features that encourage cross-pollination, such hybridisations frequently occur in nature.

Chinnappa and Morton (1976) did an extensive study of morphological variation in about 1500 herbarium specimens belonging to the complex and including all the named taxa. They concluded that all the variation is of a quantitative nature and shows no discontinuities, though there is some degree of association of characters, showing a north-to-south distribution that is suggestive either of clinal variation or of a phenotypic response to climate.

Chinnappa and Morton (1984, p. 72) concluded that "polyploidy has ...played a role in the success of [S. longipes]. The wide range of polyploids... their interfertility, and the high level of fertility in the progeny are unusual. These features permit the formation of a greater range of new genomes than outbreeding alone could produce. Also, polyploidy, by duplicating whole genotypes and gene associations on individual chromosomes, greatly increase the gene pool. This has two consequences. First, it vastly increases the range of possible gene combinations, and second, it buffers the system against the loss of genes either through chance or a transient change in selection pressures. These factors are of particular importance in the arctic and subarctic. [The changeable and very unreliable environment] not only places a premium on the development of new and adaptive genotypes but also results in the sudden and chance loss of whole populations or portions of populations. Stellaria longipes provides...insight into the factors...that are enabling this species to become a successful and prolific weed as man increasingly disturbs the fragile environment of the Arctic."

Porsild (1957) recognised S. longipes s.l. and provided a key to what he called four "races", allowing that these are "none too well marked". His key follows (p. 75):

"1. Sepals glabrous......2

2. Flowers in the axils of scarious bracts or scarious-margined leaves (Amphi-Atlantic, arctic)... S. crassipes

2. Flowers in the axils of normal stem leaves, without scarious bracts (N. American, arctic)... S. monantha (S. edwardsii)

1. Sepals ciliated [S. ciliatosepala Trautv.], glabrous or pubescent on the back....3

3. Flowers in the axils of scarious bracts or scarious-margined leaves; sepals ciliated (Circumpolar, high arctic, alpine)...S. ciliatosepala

3. Flowers in the axils of normal stem leaves; sepals usually pubescent (N. American, arctic)... S. laeta"

Petrovsky and Elven (in Elven et al. 2003) suggested treating the complex as a species aggregate with 10 species within the entire arctic area, including the four species suggested by Porsild (1957). They noted that some of the entities in Russia and North America may, however, be identical.

We have decided here to fully accept only a collective species. The circumpolar knowledge of the group is uneven, and there is a possible problem in duplicate naming of taxa on the North American and Russian side (Elven, personal communication, 2005). Experimental work with several molecular markers on carefully selected and morphologically characterised material should be attempted before a final decision is reached as how to consider the complex.

Illustrations. • Close-up of flowers (S. longipes s.l.). Note the ten stamens with an outer whorl of red anthers and an inner whorl of brown anthers which have shed their pollen. Nunavut, Ellesmere Island. Aiken 93–065. CAN. Scale bar in cm. • Close-up of flower (S. longipes s.l.). Note the five deeply cleft petals that are longer than the sepals, 3 styles and 10 stamens (here at post-anthesis). Manitoba, Churchill, near Northern Studies Centre, 5844.15'N, 9349.09'W. Aiken and Brysting 01–044. CAN. • Close-up of fruiting plant (S. longipes s.s.). Plants characteristic of S. longipes s.s. with few to several-flowered inflorescences. Manitoba, Churchill, Beech Bay, in the tidal estuary of the Churchill River, south of the Port, 5844.30'N, 9408.06'W. Aiken and Brysting 01–031. CAN. Scale bar in cm. • Close-up of fruit (S. longipes s.s.). Plants in fruit. Entirely glabrous capsules, characteristic of S. longipes s.s. Note the few to several-flowered inflorescences with small and scarious bracts. Manitoba, Churchill, Beech Bay. Aiken and Brysting 01–031. CAN. • Close-up of fruit (S. longipes s.s.). Fruit, characteristic of S. longipes s.s., with a dark brown, shiny capsule and calyx persisting. Manitoba, Churchill, Beech Bay, in the tidal estuary of the Churchill River, south of the Port, 5844.30'N, 9408.06W'. Aiken and Brysting 01–031. CAN. • Close-up of plant (S. monantha). Blue-green plant characteristic in appearance to S. monantha. Nunavut, Rankin Inlet, 6248'N, 9206'W. Aiken and Brysting 01–057. CAN. Scale bar in cm. • Close-up of plant (S. monantha). Plant similar in appearance to S. monantha but 'fresh green' and shiny. Nunavut, Rankin Inlet, adjacent to the graveyard, 6248'N, 92 06'W. Aiken and Brysting 01–057. CAN. • Close-up of fly pollination (S. monantha). Blue-green plant with fly, characteristic of S. monantha in appearance. Nunavut, Rankin Inlet, 6248'N, 9206'W. Aiken and Brysting 01–057. CAN. Scale bar in cm. • Close-up of plant (S. edwardsii). Isolated plants in dry calcareous gravel. Plant characteristic of S. edwardsii that has scarious and ciliate bracts and ciliate sepals. Manitoba, Churchill, near Northern Studies Centre. Aiken and Brysting 01–044. CAN. Scale bar in cm. • Close-up of leaves (S. edwardsii). Leaves lanceolate and strongly keeled, characteristic of S. edwardsii. Manitoba, Churchill, near Northern Studies Centre, 5844.15'N, 9349.09W. Aiken and Brysting 01–044. CAN. • 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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