Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago
English: Short leaf sedge,
Fernch: Carex fulgineux,
Inuktitut: Kilirnait, iviit, ivisuka, ivitsuskaka.
Cyperaceae, Sedge family.
Published in Consp. Fl. Eur. 4: 771. 1882
Type: Canada: Melvill [Melville Isl.], leg. Ross. Holotype: K?
Synonymy. Carex misandra R. Br., Chloris Melvill. 25. 1823.
Carex fuliginosa Schkuhr var. misandra (R. Br.) O. Lang, Linnaea 24: 597. 1851.
Carex misandra f. flavida Fernald, Rhodora 36: 91. 1934.
Vegetative morphology. Plants (4–)15–25(–30) cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose (densely; rhizomes inconspicuous). Only fibrous roots present. Roots pallid-brown. Ground level or underground stems absent. Aerial stems decumbent; filiform (somewhat flexuous). Leaves mainly basal; alternate; marcescent. Petioles absent. Sheaths present; persisting; forming a conspicuous build-up at the base of the plant; green (with broad, hyaline margins); sheath collars absent. Ligules present; membranous. Leaves grass-like. Blades 30–80 mm long, 1.5–3(–3.5) mm wide (flat), somewhat curled, linear, flat or folded, veins parallel. Blade adaxial surface glabrous (over most of the surface) or scabrous (scaberulous on the margins, especially near the apex). Blade margins scabrous (scaberulous at the tip); apices acuminate.
Reproductive morphology. Plants monoecious. Flowering stems two or more per plant. Flowering stems triangular in cross section. Flowering stems conspicuously taller than the leaves; with leaves. Leaf or reduced bract subtending the base of the inflorescence present (usually); conspicuous and leaf-like, or reduced, or scale-like; shorter than the apex of the inflorescence; 5–50 mm long; persistent (but sometimes withering early); with sheath shorter than the blade. Inflorescences a raceme of spikes; 4–9(–12) cm long; 10–40(–50) mm wide. Pedicels present (those of proximal spikes to 50 mm long); glabrous (and capillary). Cladoprophylls present. Inflorescence multispicate. Inflorescence (2–)3–4(–5) spikes. Individual spike(s) erect (in dwarf plants), or pendent (lateral spikes 6–15(-20) mm long × 3–6 mm wide). Terminal spike staminate at the base (staminate scales brown to black with pale midvein and scarious margins, oblong-obovate, 2.8–4 mm long × 1.4–2.4 mm wide). Floral scales shorter than the perigynium in fruit (slightly); brown, or black (paler to hyaline at the apex); with margins and sometimes midvein paler in colour than the adjacent area of the scale; ovate (to oblanceolate); falling early (occasionally), or not falling early; 3.5–4 mm long; 1–1.8 mm wide; glabrous. Flowers unisexual. Staminate flowers inconspicuous. Perianth represented by a perigynium. Stamens present (staminate flowers), or absent (pistillate flowers); 3. Anthers 1.3–2.7 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 3; syncarpous. Perigynia sessile. Styles 3; partially fused; slender, not extending beyond the beak. Stigmas per ovary 3. Placentation basal. Ovules per ovary 1. Fruit surrounded by a perigynium. Perigynia fused to the apex except for a small aperture through which the style protrudes; lanceolate; 4–5 mm long; 0.9–1.3 mm wide; erect or ascending; black (at apex), or straw-coloured (or greenish towards the base); membranous; surface dull; glabrous (on the body), or hairy (or ciliate along the margins); appearing veinless; with 2 keels; apices beaked with a long beak (that tapers indistinctly from the top of the perigynium); apex deeply bidentate. Fruit sessile; dry; an achene; obovate; indehiscent. Achenes not filling the upper part of the perigynia. Seeds 1; 1.5–2 mm long (0.9–1 mm wide, achenes).
Chromosome information. 2n = 40.
2n = 40. Flovik (1943, Svalbard); Holmen (1952, Greenland); Löve (1954b, 1955a); Jørgensen et al. (1958, Greenland); Knaben and Engelskjøn (1967, southern and northern Norway); Hedberg (1967, northern Canada); Johnson and Packer (1968, northwestern Alaska); Zhukova and Petrovsky (1971, Wrangel Island); Krogulevich (1976, northern Siberia); Yurtsev and Zhukova (1978, eastern Chukotka); Zhukova (1980, southern Chukotka); Löve (1981d, central Canada); Dalgaard (1989, western Greenland).
Ecology and habitat. Substrates: wet meadows (sometimes at the margins), hummocks, around the margins of ponds (and peat bogs), river terraces (typically older and dry), tundra, slopes (sometimes below snow banks), cliffs (rocky ledges and slopes), seashores (wet swales and the slopes of beach ridges); imperfectly drained moist areas, dry; rocks, gravel, sand, silt, clay, till (in combinations of the above); with high organic content, peat (occasionally); calcareous. Often found in dry, rocky or turfy areas on plains and slopes; common associates on dry tundra include Dryas, Cassiope, Saxifraga oppositifolia, and Carex rupestris. Also found, in damper places particularly of lower beach plains.
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, and Parry islands (Bathurst, Melville, and Prince Patrick), Cornwallis, Banks, Victoria, Prince of Wales, Somerset, King William, Southampton, and Coats (as well as Digges, Prince Charles, Resolution, and Air Force).
Northern hemisphere distribution. Circumpolar, or circumboreal (slightly). Svalbard Franz Joseph Land, Polar Ural Novaya Zemlya, Taimyr Severnaya Zemlya, AnabarOlenyok, Kharaulakh, YanaKolyma, 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. Polunin (1940) considered this "one of the most familiar and ubiquitous of all arctic sedges....varies [in the eastern North American Arctic] in height from 4 to 40 cm, but the the existence even in the far north of occasional quite large individuals suggests that the reduction elsewhere is merely the result of local exposure and other conditions" (pp. 125–126).
The Flora of North America treatment (Ball and Mastrogiuseppe 2002, p. 479) noted that Dietrich (1967) recognised two subspecies in the alpine and arctic regions of Europe, C. fuliginosa subsp. fuliginosa Schkuhr from the mountains of central Europe with leaves about half as long as the fertile stems and spikes 15–20(-25) mm long, and subsp. misandra, from northern Europe, with leaves not more than one third as long as the fertile stems and spikes 10–15 mm long. The North American populations have traditionally been places in subsp. misandra, but in North America many small plants with short spikes have culms scarcely exceeding the leaves; plants with long spikes have the leaves not more than a quarter the length of the culms.
Illustrations. • Habitat: Dorset. Dominant plants on higher ground near the marker. Note hummock and hollow landscape in wet meadow. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Cape Dorset. 3 August, 2005. Aiken. No voucher. • Habitat: Ellesmere. Plants growing in dry calcareous gravel and silt tundra. Nunavut, Ellesmere Island, Scoresby Bay. Aiken 98–004. CAN. Photograph by Mollie MacCormac. • Close-up of plants. Unusually short plants (about 10 cm high) with relatively short inflorescence pedicels. Leaves are atypically relatively long, more than 1/3 length of culms. Nunavut, Ellesmere Island, Scoresby Bay. Aiken 98–017. CAN. Photograph by Mollie MacCormac. Scale bar in cm. • Habitat. Plant growing beside brook in wet seepage slope of calcareous gravel. Nunavut, Ellesmere Island, Scoresby Bay. Aiken 98–019. CAN. Photograph by Mollie MacCormac. Scale bar in cm. • Close-up of plant. Roots much longer than the stems are high. Nunavut, Ellesmere Island, Scoresby Bay. Aiken 98–004. CAN. Photograph by Mollie MacCormac. • Close-up of an erect inflorescence. Dwarf plant about 10 cm high with erect terminal spike. Staminate flowers at the base of the terminal spike. Nunavut, Ellesmere Island, Scoresby Bay. Aiken 98–004. CAN. Photograph by Mollie MacCormac. • 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..