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

Eriophorum russeolum Fr. ex Hartm. subsp. leiocarpum Novoselova

English: Rusty cotton-grass, russet cotton-grass,

French: Linaigrette de Chamisso,

Inuktitut: Suputaujaq (Nunavik),

Inuvialuktun: Kangoyak.

Cyperaceae, Sedge family.

Published in Novoselova, Bot. Zhurn. (Moscow and Leningrad) 78, 8: 86. 1993.

Type: Type: Russia. FAR EAST: eastern Chukotka, in vicinus pagi Nutepelmen, vallis rivi in sinum Pyngo-pilchin influentes, 16 Aug. 1969. A.A. Nexzaeva and T.V. Plisva s.n. Holotype: LE.

Synonymy. Eriophorum medium auct., non Andersson 1857.

Eriophorum russeolum Fr. var. albidum auct., non Andersson 1857.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 20–30(–50) cm high; perennial herbs; not caespitose. Only fibrous roots present. Roots pallid-brown. Ground level or underground stems horizontal; rhizomatous, or stoloniferous; elongate. Ground level or underground stems scales present. Aerial stems erect; not filiform (1.0–2.5 mm in diameter). Leaves present; mainly basal; alternate; dying annually and non-persistent and marcescent. Petioles absent. Sheaths present; persisting; not forming a conspicuous build-up at the base of the plant; greyish brown, or brown, or reddish orange; with the margins fused to the apex; glabrous; sheath collars absent. Ligules present; 0.5–1 mm long; membranous; glabrous. Ligule apices obtuse; entire. Leaves grass-like. Blades 100–300 mm long, 1–2.5 mm wide, appressed to the stem or spreading, straight, linear, flat, veins parallel, midvein similar in size to other veins in the leaf. Blade adaxial surface glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glabrous. Blade margins glabrous; apices acuminate.

Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems solitary. Flowering stems circular or oval in cross section. Flowering stems conspicuously taller than the leaves; with leaves; uppermost leaf arising below the middle of the stem. Leaf or reduced bract subtending the base of the inflorescence absent. Flowers solitary (numerous flowers in a solitary inflorecence), or in inflorescences. Inflorescences spicate and head-like (a single spike); dense; obovate, or ellipsoid (higher than wide at maturity); 2–4 cm long; 20–40 mm wide. Pedicels absent. Inflorescence unispicate. Individual spike(s) erect. Bisexual spike(s) with empty bracts at the base (2–6 bracts 8–12 mm long). Terminal spike with both sexes in each floret. Floral scales green, or brown (first proximal scale olive-brown, olivegreen, dark gray to blackish, becoming pale beige to white hyaline in distal parts, lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, (5.7-)7–16 × 3.0–5.3 mm, with 1–5 orange-brown or blackish nerves converging below the acute or acuminate apex; medial fertile scales with moderate to extended proximal part 0.8–3.2 mm long, averaging (110)18–57% of total scale length, orange-brown, pale brown, pale green or whitish, with the medil part forming a more or less extended dark trianle, with marginal and distal parts mostly wide-hyaline, obovate, lanceolate or elliptic, 3.0–8.4 × (0.8-)1.0–2.4 mm, the widest part near the middle or above, rarely below, with 1 incomplete nerve, acute, 0.25–0.6 mm wide at 0.2 mm below the apex (illustrated Cayouette 2004); with margins paler than body of the scale; lanceolate (narrowly, and tapering to a point); 5–7(–15) mm long; 2–4 mm wide; glabrous; apex acute. Perianth represented by bristles (the "cotton" of cotton grasses) (about 30 mm long). Perianth bristles dull white (or white). Sepals modified (but not a pappus). Petals modified as bristles or perigynia. Stamens 3. Anthers splitting longitudinally. Anthers 1.4–1.7(–3) mm long (linear). Ovary carpels 3; syncarpous. Styles 3. Placentation basal. Ovules per ovary 1. Fruit sessile; surrounded by a perianth persisting as bristles; dry; an achene (narrowly obovate); obovate (usually), or ellipsoid (rarely, usually with small spicules at the apex); brown (pale); 1.6–2(–2.5) mm long; (0.8–)0.9–1 mm wide; indehiscent. Achenes trigonous. Seeds 1.

Chromosome information. 2n = 58–62.

2n = 58-62.

2n = 58. Löve (1981d, central Canada); Zhukova and Tikhonova (1971, Chukotka); Zhukova et al. (1977, northeastern Asia); Zhukova (1980, southern Chukotka);

2n = about 60. Packer and McPherson (1974, northern Alaska );

2n = 62. Johnson and Packer (1968, northwestern Alaska.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: around the margins of ponds (in mud, beside shallow ponds), marshes; imperfectly drained moist areas; silt; with high organic content. The species has been reported in marshes with Carex aquatilis var. minor.

North American distribution. Cayouette (2004) noted that the group of E. russeolum with white spikelets has a very different range from the group with orange-brown spikelets and was found to be sufficiently distinct by Novoselova (1993) to be considered a subspecies. Its range is amphi-Beringian, discontinuous in northwestern Russia, continuous from northcentral Russia eastward to Alaska, the Canadian Yukon and Northwest Territories, the islands and continental portions of Nunavut, the prairie provinces as far east as Manitoba, with scattered sites in Ontario, Quebec, Labrador, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, with an extension in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Alaska, Yukon, continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec, Labrador. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago limited. Rare. Low Arctic. Arctic islands: Baffin.

Northern hemisphere distribution. North American, or Siberian. 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.

General notes. Ball and Wujek (2002) referred to this taxon under the name E. chamissonis C.A. Meyer and place E. russeolum var. leucothrix (Blomgren) Hultén in synonymy with it. Novoselova (1993) discussed the question of the identity of E. chamissonis C.A. Meyer, drawing attention to the several points of view in the literature concerning the possible use of the name E. chamissonis and its restrictions.

Novoselova (in Elven et al. 2003) considers E. russeolum to be a species separate from E. chamissonis. The taxon that we have in North America is E. russeolum subsp. leiocarpum.

Novoselova (in Elven et al. 2003) stated that subspecies leiocarpum differs from subsp. russeolum in "(i) shorter culms (height (14-)20–30(-35) cm versus 15–80 cm); (ii) fruiting heads white or cream coloured (not different shades of ferrugineous or red); (iii) scales dark grey to black (not grey to dark grey); (iv) anthers shorter (length (0.7-)1–2(-3) mm versus (1.5-)2–3 mm); and (v) achenes glabrate or with very few spicules at apex (not with numerous spicules at apex, rarely glabrate)."

Cayouette (2004, p. 805) noted that "Eriophorum russeolum subsp. leiocarpum is quite variable, and some specimens can be considered merely as white-coloured counterparts to orange-brown E. russeolum. Nevertheless, the spikelets of this subspecies tend to be more often ellipsoid than obovoid, the achenes more often obovoid than ellipsoid, and the achene beaks narrower on average than in subsp. This variation is encountered in all parts of subsp. leiocarpum's North American range. Specimens from higher latitudes (e.g., Nunavut) tend to have more blackish medial scales, but all other characters are within the variation of the subspecies."

Illustrations. • Close-up of inflorescence. Close-up of inflorescence with shed anthers more than 1 mm long. N.W.T., Banks Island, Aulavik National Park, beside Thomsen River. 1 July, 1999. Aiken 99–047. CAN. • Close-up of culm sheaths. Culm with inflated sheaths (s), the lower with a well-developed blade, the upper with a much reduced blade. N.W.T., Banks Island. Aiken 99–047. CAN. • Close-up of sheath. Leaf sheath tapering into a long blade. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Nettilling Lake. CAN 519575. • Close-up of inflorescence. Inflorescence ellipsoidal, becoming obovoid at maturity. Proximal scales without flowers 3–7, orange-brown to beige-brown. Note lowest scale with widest part near the middle or above, and pale hyaline distal parts. N.W.T., Banks Island. Aiken 99–047. CAN. • Close-up of inflorescence. Inflorescence obovoid at maturity, proximal scales without flowers 3–7. Note scales with pale hyaline distal parts. Specimen annotated by J. Cayouette, 2004. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Nettilling Lake. CAN 519575. • The European subsp. russeolum. Subspecies leiocarpum differs from the European subsp. russeolum in having shorter culms ((14-)20–30(-35) versus 15–80 cm); fruiting heads white or cream-coloured (versus different shades of ferrugineous or red); scales dark grey to black (versus grey to dark grey); anthers shorter ((0.7-)1–2(-3) versus (1.5-)2–3mm); and achenes glabrate or with very few spicules at apex (versus with numerous spicules at apex, rarely glabrate). Norway, Troms, Bardu, Salangsdalen. 2 July, 1985. Photograph by R. Elven. Voucher at TROM. • 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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