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 ×medium Andersson subsp. album Cayouette

Inuktitut: Suputaujaq (Nunavik),

Inuvialuktun: Kangoyak.

Cyperaceae, Sedge family.

Published in Sida 21: 807. 2004.

Type: Canada, Nunavut, Baffin Island, Nettilling Lake, 66°40'N-70°,W, J.Dewey Soper, s.n. Holotype: CAN 25686.

Synonymy. Eriophorum rufescens Andersson, Bot. Not. 1857: 79. 1857.

Eriophorum chamissonis f. albidum (F. Nyl.) Fernald, Rhodora 23: 131. 1921.

Eriophorum russeolum Fr. ex Hartm. subsp. rufescens (Andersson) Hyl., Nordisk Kärlväxtfl. 2: 386, 9. 1966.

Vegetative morphology. Plants (15–)20–40 cm high (1–3 vegetative shoots, 8–24 cm high); perennial herbs; not caespitose. Only fibrous roots present. Roots pallid-brown. Ground level or underground stems horizontal; rhizomatous; elongate, or compact. Ground level or underground stems scales present. Aerial stems erect; not filiform (0.8–1.1 mm in diameter, below the inflorescence). Leaves present; mainly basal, or distributed along the stems (2–6 cauline leaves); 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; brown (beige), or reddish orange (with orange spots on distal membranous parts; highest distal sheath situated below the middle of the stem, rarely near the middle, 2.2–2.9 mm wide, with blade reduced or lacking); with the margins fused to the apex; glabrous; sheath collars absent. Ligules present; 0.5–1 mm long; membranous; glabrous. Ligule apices acute; entire. Leaves grass-like. Blades 120–150 mm long, 0.8–0.9 mm wide (blades of the distal sheaths 0.3–1.7 mm long × 0.3–0.8 mm wide, or lacking), appressed to the stem or spreading, straight (blades of the proximal sheaths flat to slightly cymbiform), 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 with leaves; uppermost leaf arising below the middle of the stem (usually). 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 hemispherical spike that is ovoid to obovoid at maturity); dense; ovate, or obovate, or hemispherical; 1.6–4 cm long; 20–45 mm wide (with about 150 florets). Pedicels absent. Inflorescence unispicate. Individual spike(s) erect. Bisexual spike(s) with empty bracts at the base. Terminal spike with both sexes in each floret. Floral scales green, or brown (3–5); first proximal scale dark olive green or blackish, becoming brown-hyaline or brown-beige in distal and marginal parts; ovate to ovate-lanceolate, with 3–5 brown to orange-brown nerves converging below the acuminate apex; medial fertile scales with a reduced proximal part 0.5–1.7 mm long averaging 9–34% of the total scale length, whitish or pale beige, with the medial part blackish forming a narrow triangle with marginal distal parts narrowly hyaline, lanceolate, with 1 incomplete vein, apex acuminate.....OR

proximal scales 3–5 without florets; first proximal scale dark olive-brown to blackish becoming hyaline brown in marginal and distal parts, ovate, wide with 5–10 orange-brown to pale brown; medial fertile scales with reduced proximal part 0.9–1.5 mm long, averaging 17–27 (9–37% of total scale length), whitish, pale green or pale beige, with medial and distal parts blackish, with marginal and distal parts reduced hyaline, lanceolate, 3.6–7.3(-8.0) × 0.7–1.3 mm, the widest part mostly below the middles, with 1 incomplete nerve, acuminate, mostly 0.1–0.3 mm wide at 0.2 mm below the apex (illustrated Cayouette 2004); with margins paler than body of the scale (midvein not reaching to the apex); not reflexed; lanceolate; 7.1–11.5 mm long (2.6–3.7 mm wide, first proximal; medial fertile scales with a reduced proximal part 0.5–1.7 mm long averaging 9–34% of the total scale length, 3.8–6.7 × 0.6–1.1 mm wide, the widest part mostly below the middle 0.15–0.3(-0.4) mm wide at 0.2 mm below the apex); 1.5–2 mm wide; glabrous; apex acute (to acuminate). Perianth represented by bristles (the "cotton" of cotton grasses) (about 50, hyogynous). Perianth bristles dull white (or white (10-)22–32 mm long). Sepals modified (but not a pappus). Stamens 3; stamen filaments all equal in length (with filaments about as wide as the perianth bristles). Anthers yellow (greenish). Anthers splitting longitudinally. Anthers 0.9–1.6 mm long (considerably shorter than E. russeolum). Ovary carpels 3; syncarpous. Styles 3. Stigmas per ovary 3(–4) (stigmatic branches mostly closed at maturity). Stigma lobes 1–2.2 mm long. Placentation basal. Ovules per ovary 1. Fruit sessile; surrounded by a perianth persisting as bristles; dry; an achene; obovate (narrowly, obovoid to narrowly ellipsoid); golden brown (beige), or brown (orange); (1.9–)2.1–2.5 mm long; 0.6–0.9 mm wide (closer to those of E. scheuchzeri); glabrous (slightly lustrous, with a straight or oblique beak, mostly cylindrical 0.2–0.3 mm long by 0.1 mm wide at the base); indehiscent. Achenes trigonous (compressed), or lenticular (slightly; base cuneate, apex obtuse). Seeds 1.

Chromosome information. 2n = 58 (?).

2n = 58, Knaben and Engelskjøn (1967, northern Norway).

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: hummocks, along streams; imperfectly drained moist areas; gravel, clay, till, moss; with high organic content, peat.

North American distribution. Cayouette (2004) noted that this nothosubspecies is currently known only in northeastern Canada. Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago limited. Uncommon, rare. Low Arctic. Arctic islands: Baffin, Southampton.

Northern hemisphere distribution. North American. Labrador – Hudson Bay.

General notes. Cayouette (2004) noted that "this nothosubspecies is currently known only in northeastern Canada, from continental Nunavut... Baffin and Southampton islands...to northern Quebec...Since the sympatric range of the two parental taxa covers large parts of the Nunavut and Northwest Territories, the western Canadian provinces, Alaska, and eastern to western parts of Russia, E. ×medium subsp. album is likely to be discovered in some of these major areas." However, Cayouette (2004) indicated that no specimen outside of northeastern Canada was known to Novoselova in 2004. Cayouette also stated that there was "the slight possibility that the taxon described from Alaska as E. russeolum var. albidum by Nylander (1846:10) and bearing ‘narrowly lanceolate scales’ could refer to the new nothosubspecies, but the type should be searched for and examined." Cayoutte (2004) noted that "some paratypes of E. ×medium subsp. album have been seen with good mature achenes, indicating that subsp. album has perhaps become a stabilised orthospecies of hybrid origin in some areas." (pp 808–809).

Illustrations. • Close-up of plant. Early season plant, sparingly leafy at the base, with reddish sheaths. The uppermost leaf sheath ends below the middle of the stem. Note the obovoid developing inflorescence. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit. CAN 302046. • Close-up of young inflorescence. Obovate inflorescence. Floral scales are lanceolate and pointed, intermediate between the ovoid and slightly obtuse ones of E. russeolum and the narrowly lanceolate, very long-pointed ones of E. scheuchzeri. Anthers are 0.8–1.5 mm long. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit. CAN 223751. • Inflorescence in cotton. Inflorescence in cotton with the flowering head oblong in fruit, higher than wide and with a faint brown tinge. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Nettilling Lake. CAN 28144. • 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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