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

Carex marina Dewey

English: Seashore sedge,

French: Carex marin,

Inuktitut: Iviit, ivisuka, ivitsuskaka.

Cyperaceae, Sedge family.

Published in Amer. J. Sci. Arts 29: 247. 1836.

Type: Canada: Seacoast Arctic regions, leg. Dr. Richardson 352. Holotype: GH.

Synonymy. Carex amblyorrhyncha V. Krecz. in Kom., Fl. USSR 3: 184, 595. 1935.

Carex amblyorrhyncha V. Krecz. subsp. amblyorrhyncha var. fusca Böcher, Acta Arct. 5: 25. 1952.

Carex amblyorrhyncha V. Krecz. subsp. amblyorrhyncha var. tundrarum Böcher, Acta Arct. 5: 25. 1952.

Carex marina Dewey var. fusca (Böcher) Böcher in G. Halliday and Chater, Feddes Repert. 80, 2–3: 105. 1969.

Carex marina Dewey var. tundrarum (Böcher) Böcher in G. Halliday and Chater, Feddes Repert. 80, 2–3: 105. 1969.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 10–15(–30) cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose (loosely, in small clumps); loosely tufted in several tufts (in small tufts). Only fibrous roots present. Roots pallid-brown. Ground level or underground stems horizontal; compact. Ground level or underground stems scales present. Aerial stems erect (slender); filiform (0.3–0.6 mm in diameter). Leaves distributed along the stems (in the lower half); alternate; marcescent. Petioles absent. Sheaths present; persisting; not forming a conspicuous build-up at the base of the plant; greyish brown, or brown (inner band thin, hyaline, sometimes red tinged, truncate or shallowly concave at summit); sheath collars absent. Ligules present; 0.1–0.2 mm long (shorter than wide). Leaves grass-like. Blades 50–100 mm long, 0.8–1.5 mm wide, straight, linear, flat or revolute (loosely, pale green to grey-green), veins parallel. Blade adaxial surface glabrous or scabrous (scaberulous). Blade abaxial surface glabrous or scabrous (on margins and midvein). Blade margins scabrous (scaberulous).

Reproductive morphology. Plants monoecious. Flowering stems triangular in cross section (with heavy sclerenchyma on the angles). Flowering stems conspicuously taller than the leaves; with leaves. Leaf or reduced bract subtending the base of the inflorescence present; reduced, or scale-like (sometimes bristle-like); shorter than the apex of the inflorescence (often inconspicuous); 4–13 mm long; persistent; with sheath shorter than the blade. Inflorescences a spike of spikes; linear, or oblong; 1–1.5 cm long; 3–8 mm wide. Cladoprophylls absent. Inflorescence multispicate. Inflorescence 2–3(–4) spikes (lateral spikes with 3–8 perigynia). Individual spike(s) erect, or ascending. Terminal spike staminate at the base (not clavate, close to the other spikes or the lowermost one, slightly separate; individually distinct, 3–6 mm long × 3–5 mm wide, oblong-clavate, each one containing 3–8 perigynia). Floral scales shorter than the perigynium in fruit (reddish); orange-brown; with margins and sometimes midvein paler in colour than the adjacent area of the scale (margins relatively wide); ovate; 2–3 mm long; 1.8–2.2 mm wide; glabrous. Flowers unisexual. Staminate flowers inconspicuous. Perianth represented by a perigynium. Stamens present (staminate flowers), or absent (pistillate flowers); 3. Anthers 0.8–1 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 3; syncarpous. Perigynia sessile. Styles 2; partially fused; slender, extending beyond the beak. Stigmas per ovary 2. Placentation basal. Ovules per ovary 1. Fruit surrounded by a perigynium. Perigynia with a slit running down the beak on the abaxial side through which the style protrudes; elliptic; 2.5–3 mm long; 1.1–1.3 mm wide; erect or ascending; straw-coloured (towards the base), or golden brown (towards the apex); membranous; surface dull; glabrous; papillose; faintly veined (with several veins); with 2 keels (slight); apices merely conical or rounded; apex oblique, becoming slightly bidentate. Fruit sessile; dry; an achene; indehiscent. Achenes lenticular (red-brown, dull to slightly glossy); filling the perigynia. Seeds 1; 1.25–1.5 mm long (about 1 mm wide); brown (reddish, dull to slightly glossy).

Chromosome information. 2n = 58, 60, 62, and 64.

2n = 58–62.

2n = 58. Zhukova and Petrovsky (1972, northeastern Asia);

2n = about 60. Hedberg (1967, Canada);

2n = 60. Zhukova (1969, northeastern Asia);

2n = 62. Zhukova and Petrovsky (1971, Wrangel Island); Löve (1981d, northern Canada).

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: wet meadows, marshes (in extensive stands of Carex aquatilis var. minor), lakeshores (on the lower slopes or in mossy marshy areas); aquatic, imperfectly drained moist areas; sand, moss; with high organic content.

North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories Islands, continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago limited. Rare. High Arctic. Arctic islands: Baffin, Ellesmere (Alexandra Fiord, Lake Hazen, Borup Fiord, and Hot Weather Creek), Axel Heiberg, Banks, Victoria, Somerset (?), Southampton, Coats.

Northern hemisphere distribution. Circumpolar (with a large North Atlantic gap partly filled by subsp. pseudolagopina). 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.

General notes. Carex marina was described by Dewey (1836) from material collected in the Canadian Arctic by Richardson, probably on the second of Franklin’s expeditions. Fernald (1902), like Kükenthal (1909), considered Dewey’s plant to be C. heleonastes. Porsild (1957) treated this taxon as Carex amblyorhyncha V. Krecz. Halliday and Chater (1969c) showed that C. marina is the earlier name of this taxon.

The species referred to by Mackenzie (1935) as C. marina is actually C. glareosa Wahlenb.

Halliday and Chater (1969a) suggested that in the past the widespread C. marina hybridised with the more local C. glareosa until the latter no longer occurred in pure populations. Elven (personal communication, 2005) stated that he had seen no specimens indicating this hybridisation.

Toivonen (2002, p. 316–317) in the Flora of North America treatment noted that "plants from Greenland and Europe often with two spikes and short-beaked perigynia have been called C. marina subsp. pseudolagopina (Sørensen) Böcher; subsp. marina from North America and Siberia [and also a very small area in western Greenland, around Disko Island] differs in having usually (2-)3(-4) spikes equal in size.... narrower leaves, and a more distinct beak." The occurrence of subsp. pseudolagopina from North America (excluding Greenland) remains to be fully documented.

Illustrations. • Herbarium specimen. Loosely cespitose sedge that grows in small tufts. Note multispicate inflorescence of sessile spikes. Nunavut, Ellesmere Island, Borup Fiord, in moss mats. 25 July, 1988. T.A. Hedderson. CAN 556088. • Close-up of inflorescence. Multispicate inflorescence has 3 slightly separated sessile spikes, each with conspicuous proximal scale-like bracts. All spikes are staminate below, with white thread-like filaments remaining after anthers have been shed. Pistillate scales are red-brown with a lighter centre and broad hyaline margins. Perigynia have two brownish stigmas and conical apices. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Isortoq River. CAN 295762. • 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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