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

Oxytropis hudsonica (Greene) Fernald

English: Hudsonian oxytrope,

French: Oxytrope de la baie d'Hudson.

Fabaceae (Leguminosae), Pea family.

Published in Great Basin Naturalist 50: 357. 1991.

Type: Canada: Whale River, Hudson Bay, June 24, 1896, A.P. Low 14272. Holotype: NDG.

Synonymy. Aragallus hudsonicus Green, Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 18: 17. 1905.

Oxytropis hudsonica (Greene) Fern., Rhodora 30: 142. 1928.

Oxytropis viscida var. hudsonica (Greene) Barneby, Proc. Calif. Acad. Ser. 4, 27: 245. 1952.

Oxytropis viscida subsp. hudsonica (Greene) A. Löve and D. Löve, Taxon 31: 347. 1982.

Oxytropis leucantha var. hudsonica f. galactantha B. Boivin, Naturaliste Can. 94: 76. 1967. Type: Canada: Franklin District, Melville Peninsula, Repulse Bay, along Nauja River, 27 July 1950, P. F. Bruggemann 52. Holotype: DAO.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 8–25 cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose; glandular viscid (especially on stipules and calyces). Taproot present. Ground level or underground stems absent. Caudex present (well developed and branching). Aerial stems erect. Aerial stem trichomes spreading, or erect (black and white hairs). Leaves mainly basal; alternate; dying annually and non-persistent (blades), or marcescent (midribs of previous season’s leaves persisting). Stipules present; persisting for 2 or more years (in the marcescent build-up at the base of the plant); 10–15 mm long; 3–3.5 mm wide (each side); sheathing; brown, or white (greyish, or pale brown, strongly adnate to the petiole); hairy; long-silky; apex acuminate (long and narrow). Petioles 10–20(–25) mm long; hairy; long-silky. Petiole hairs longer than the diameter of the petiole; erect; straight, or curved (slightly); smooth. Leaf blades compound. Blades 35–100 mm long, 5–15 mm wide, veins pinnate or with inconspicuous veins. Blade adaxial surface with sessile glands, glabrous or hairy (on veins, very sparsely when present), hairs long-silky, hairs simple, hairs sparse, hairs white, or translucent. Blade abaxial surface with sessile glands, glabrescent (sparse and with numerous sub-epidermal glands) or hairy, hairs long-silky (on margins only), hairs sparse, hairs white, hairs straight, hairs appressed. Blade apices acute. Leaflet arrangement pinnate. Leaflets 15–33; 1.5–7 mm long; 1–2 mm wide; oblong, or ovate; veins inconspicuous.

Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems two or more per plant; without leaves. Flowering stems hairy. Flowering stems villous. Flowering stem hairs simple; longer than the diameter of the flowering stem; white or translucent and black (spreading, erect). Inflorescences spicate (very short pedicels and head-like); dense; 2–2.5 cm long; 25–35 mm wide; not elongating as the fruit matures. Floral scales hairy mainly at apex (7–10 mm long and sparsely black hairy). Flowers per inflorescence (5–)7–13 (fragrant when fresh); medium-sized; bilaterally symmetrical (zygomorphic). Sepals conventional; 5; fused; 8–9 mm wide; brown, or black (often black with copious hairs). Calyx tubular; 5-lobed; hairy. Calyx hairs pilose (with spreading hairs); glandular; black. Calyx teeth equal or nearly so; with abundant glandular verrucae; 0.8–1.7 mm long. Petals conventional; both free and fused; 5; purple, or blue (on the tops of the petals, paler towards the base); with contrasting markings (particularly dark veins on the banner petal that act as insect guidelines); unlobed (4 petals), or slightly lobed or undulating (banner petal); (12–)15–20(–25) mm long. Corolla papilionaceous; keel with a pointed tip; helmet without 2 small teeth at the apex. Stamens 10. Anther filaments 9 fused into a tube, plus 1 free. Nectaries present. Ovary superior; carpels 1; monomerous. Stigmas per ovary 1. Ovules per ovary 20–30. Fruit sessile, or stalked; with calyx persisting; dry; a legume (beaked at the tip); ovoid, or elongate-cylindrical, or obovate (when dehisced), or oblong; yellowish (or grey); (10–)15–22 mm long; 5–7 mm wide; hairy (with dark hairs); not distinctly flattened; dehiscent (opening at the apex). Legume unilocular; valves straight. Styles persisting but not modified. Seeds 3–10; 1.8–2.2 mm long (i.e., the longest dimension); brown; surfaces smooth.

Chromosome information. 2n = 16, or 32.

2n (2x )= 16. Gervais et al. (1997b, northeastern Canada, as 'borealis hudsonica');

2n (4x) = 32. Löve and Löve (1982a, central Canada, as 'viscida hudsonica').

Ploidy levels recorded 2x.

Taxon as an environmental indicator. The northernmost record of this variety is on Melville Peninsula, Ross Bay, 66°50'N.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: hummocks, tundra (gravelly flats); imperfectly drained moist areas; gravel; calcareous. Gravely and sandy places, on peat in snow patches.

North American distribution. Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago limited. Rare. Low Arctic. Arctic islands: Southampton (and Melville Peninsula).

Northern hemisphere distribution. North American (Hudsonian (Elven et al. 2003). Central Canada, Labrador – Hudson Bay.

General notes. Elven et al. (2003) treat Oxytropis borealis as Oxytropis glutinosa A.E. Porsild and noted the pattern in North America might justify four regional races: 'borealis' as amphi-Beringian and Alaskan, 'glutinosa' as northwestern Canadian, 'viscida' as Cordilleran, and 'hudsonica' as central-northeastern Canadian ('Hudsonian'). An alternative would be to merge 'borealis' and 'glutinosa' within one subspecies. Because the combinations for subspecies of these taxa are not yet available, here we use the species names O. borealis for the western taxon (as this will be the name published in Flora of North America) and O. hudsonica for this taxon of the Hudsonian region, until a classification is clarified which satisfies the circumpolar morphological discontinuities, available chromosome evidence, and any future molecular evidence.

Welsh (1990) considered that O. borealis in North America consists of an intergrading series of varieties. This whole species complex has fragrant viscid herbage, and was treated as O. viscida by Barneby (1952), but O. borealis is the earliest name (Welsh 1990). In the Canadian Arctic Islands, plants are generally recognisable as belonging to two varieties, which Porsild (1957, 1964) treated under O. hudsonica (Greene) Fernald and O. glutinosa Porsild. Porsild separated these as follows:

Calyx lobes deltoid, one-quarter to one-third as long as the tube...O. hudsonica

Calyx lobes subulate, one-half to two-thirds as long as the tube....O. glutinosa [= O. borealis]

In the east, and on Southampton Island, O. hudsonica is recognised by having calyx teeth less than 2 mm long and lacking glandular verrucae. It also has some black hairs on the calyx, as opposed to the copiously black hairy calyces of O. borealis.

Illustrations. • Herbarium specimen. Note blue flowers and relatively small leaflets. Nunavut, Southampton Island, Coral Harbour. 4 August, 1950. D.K. Brown 512. CAN 258789. • Side view of stipules. One side of membranous pale brown stipules with long, dark acuminate tips. The surface of the stipule is covered with appressed long silky hairs. N.W.T., Banks Island. CAN 128014. • Close-up of inflorescence. Note blue flowers with calyces that are moderately hairy, and calyx teeth that are less than 2 mm long. Nunavut, Southampton Island, Coral Harbour. 4 August, 1950. D.K. Brown 512. CAN 258789. • Close-up of inflorescence. Side view of inflorescence showing the very short length of the calyx teeth in proportion to the total calyx length. In contrast, Oxytropis borealis has very long calyx teeth. Nunavut, Southampton Island. CAN 584741. • Close-up of calyx surface. Calyx tooth nearest the left has the most conspicuous glands, a characteristic of this section of Oxytropis. In the Canadian Arctic, this section includes O. borealis and O. hudsonica. Nunavut, Southampton Island. CAN 584741. • Close-up of fruits. Note inflorescence axis does not elongate as fruit develops in this species. Note yellowish (or grey) legumes (arrow) that are ovoid, elongate- cylindrical, and beaked at the tip. Nunavut, Southampton Island, Salmon Pond. 8 July, 1970? (on sheet 8/7/70). G.R. Parker SP-70–90. CAN 368116. • 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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