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

Ericaceae A.L. de Jussieu

French: Airelle des marédcages, airelle des marais.

Ericaceae, Bilberry family.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 1–20(–45) cm high; shrubs (sub-shrubs); dwarf shrubs, or low shrubs. With fibrous roots developed along the prostrate stems. Aerial stems erect, or ascending, or decumbent, or prostrate. Aerial stem trichomes appressed, or spreading (if applicable). Leaves distributed along the stems; alternate; distinctly distichous (Cassiope), or not distinctly distichous (usually); persistent, dying annually and non-persistent, and marcescent. Petioles present, or absent; 0.1–5 mm long (if applicable); winged, or not winged; glabrous, or hairy; pubescent, or woolly (if applicable). Petiole hairs appressed, or spreading, or reflexed; curved, or wavy. Leaf blades simple. Leaf blade bases truncate, or cuneate, or attenuate, or rounded. Blades 1–15(–55) mm long, 1–10(–30) mm wide, appressed to the stem or spreading or divaricate or reflexed, linear or oblong or elliptic or lanceolate or ovate or oblanceolate or obovate, flat or involute or revolute, veins pinnate or appearing single-veined or with inconspicuous veins or veins reticulate. Blade adaxial surface dull (usually) or shiny, with sessile glands (Rhododendron) or without sessile glands (usually), glabrous. Blade abaxial surface with sessile glands or without sessile glands or glandular hairs, glabrous or hairy, hairs pubescent or tomentose, hairs moderately dense or very dense (if applicable), hairs white or rust-coloured, hairs straight or curved or wavy, hairs appressed or spreading or erect. Blade margins entire or glandular-dotted or serrulate or crenate, glabrous (usually) or with non-glandular hairs, with teeth all around the blade or toward the apex; apices acuminate, or acute, or obtuse, or rounded, or retuse.

Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems with leaves, or without leaves. Flowers solitary, or in inflorescences. Inflorescences fasciculate (with a few flowers), or with flowers in umbels (Ledum); lateral (often towards the ends of the branches). Pedicels present (often, sub-sessile in bud). Bract leaves 1–20 mm long. Floral bracts apices entire, or lacerate. Flowers per inflorescence 1–5 (-20 Ledum); small (usually), or medium-sized (Rhododendron). Sepals conventional; 5; free, or fused; 0.5–2 mm long (if applicable); 0.5–3 mm wide; green, or yellow, or brown, or red, or black; herbaceous, or petaloid. Calyx funnel-form, or rotate; unlobed, or 5-lobed; with sessile glands, or without sessile glands; glabrous, or hairy. Calyx hairs glandular, or non-glandular (if applicable); brown. Petals conventional; fused (usually), or free (Ledum); 5; green, or white, or yellow, or red, or pink, or purple; obovate; unlobed; (2–)3.5–12 mm long; 2–3 mm wide (Ledum). Corolla tubular, or rotate, or campanulate, or urceolate; 5-lobed (if applicable). Stamens 8–10. Anthers purple, or reddish, becoming yellow, or yellow. Anthers opening with a terminal pore. Anthers 0.3–2.2 mm long. Nectaries present. Ovary superior, or inferior; carpels (3–)5; syncarpous. Ovaries ovate, or inverse turnip-shaped, or oblong, or sub-globose; glabrous, or hairy, or with sessile glands; pubescent. Styles 1. Placentation axile. Ovules per ovary (5–)15–20 (or numerous). Fruit sessile, or stalked; stalk 0.1–40 mm long; with calyx persisting; fleshy, or dry; a capsule, or a berry, or a drupe; spherical, or ovoid, or conical; yellowish, or black, or brown, or red, or blue; (1.5–)2–12 mm long; (1.5–)2.5–12 mm wide; glabrous and covered with papillae (covered with papillae Ledum); surface venation reticulate, or appearing veinless; not distinctly flattened; dehiscent, or indehiscent; opening with teeth at the top of the capsule, or splitting to the base into separate segments; teeth 5. Seeds 2–5 (to numerous); 0.35–3.5 mm long; black, or brown, or yellowish; surfaces smooth, ridged, reticulate.

Illustrations. • Arctous alpina. Plant with bright red autumn leaves, and black fruit 6–8 mm in diameter, that distinguishes this species from Arctous rubra. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit, growing on hillside behind town. 27 August, 1997. Aiken 97–048. CAN. • Arctous rubra. Plant with crenulate leaf margins. The ripe fruit of red bearberry is a bright red berry. Aiken and Brysting 01–481. • Cassiope tetragona. Zone of heather in flower. Plants growing on frost boil tundra towards the base of a pingo. N.W.T., Banks Island, Aulavik National Park, beside Thomsen River. 11 July, 1999. Aiken 99–049. CAN. Scale bar in cm. • Harrimanella hypnoides. Plant with conspicuously narrow, simple, overlapping leaves and reddish sepals. Flowers are borne singly on pedicels. Petals that are white when fresh have faded to yellow. Right, developing fruit capsule. 26 August, 1961. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Island south south-west of Broughton Island. N.G. Smith. VP-125–61. • Ledum palustre subsp. decumbens. Above, flowers with two free, overlapping petals and anthers that alternate with the petals. Outer whorl of anthers at anthesis, inner whorl at pre-anthesis. Style shorter than the petals. Compare with the bell-shaped fused petals of Vaccinium vitis-idaea (cranberry) growing below. Lower right, leaves of sorrel (Oxyria digyna). Photograph by Lynn Gillespie. • Loiseleuria procumbens. Flowers (about 7 mm in diameter) with 5 pink, fused petals and 5 red pre-anthesis stamens in a single whorl that are alternate with the petals. There are reddish developing capsules. The leathery leaves have a single prominent vein sunk into the adaxial surface. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Frobisher Bay, Ogac Lake. 16 August. L.L. Consaul 2362a., L.J. Gillespie, and R.J. Soreng. • Phyllodoce caerulea. Semi-prostrate shrub with branching woody stems, densely overlapping divariacate, linear, leathery leaves 4–8 mm long. Flowers with deep red, mostly free sepals and pink petals fused into a tubular corolla with 5 tiny lobes. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit. 10 July, 1982. J.M. Gillett 18971. CAN 466153. • Rhododendron lapponicum. Conspicuous purplish pink flowers (5-)10–15 mm in diameter borne in groups of 2–4. Plants growing on rocky hillside in a dense low Arctic tundra with Dryas, willow, Carex and bilberry. Nunavut, Baffin Island, north of Iqaluit. 19 July, 1982. J.M. Gillett 18959. CAN. • Vaccinium uliginosum. Vivid blue berry 10–15 mm round, formed from an ovary with 5 carpels, the tops of which appear as teeth on the top of the berry. The style is still attached and shows the small capitate stigma. Note the glabrous leaves with reticulate venation. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit. Aiken 97–047. CAN. • Vaccinium vitis-idaea. Shiny red fruit 6–9 mm in diameter. At the apex of the fruit, the position of the five carpels in the ovary is outlined. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit. Aiken 97–046. CAN.


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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