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 terrae-novae Fernald

English: Field oxytrope,

French: Oxytrope du fleuve Saint-Jean,

Inukitut: Airaq.

Fabaceae (Leguminosae), Pea family.

Published in Rhodora 30: 147. 1928.

Type: Canada: Newfoundland, St. John Island, 31.07.1925, leg. M.L. Fernald et al. 28615. Holotype. GH.

Synonymy. Oxytropis campestris (L.) DC. var. terrae-novae (Fernald) Barneby, Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci., ser. 4, 27: 266.1952.

Oxytropis uralensis (L.) DC. taxon minor Hook., Fl. Bor.-Amer. 1: 146. 1831.

Oxytropis. campestris (L.) DC. var. minor (Hook.) S.L.Welsh, Great Basin Naturalist 55: 277. 1995.

Oxytropis johannensis (Fernald) Fernald, Rhodora 30: 145. 1928.

Oxytropis campestris (L.) DC. var. johannensis Fernald, Rhodora 1: 88. 1899.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 7–15 cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose. Taproot present. Ground level or underground stems absent. Caudex present. Aerial stems erect. Aerial stem trichomes appressed (white strigose and pointing towards the flowers). 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); 15–20 mm long; 4–5 mm wide (each side); sheathing; white (or pale brown with long hairs on the margins; otherwise smooth); hairy; long-silky; apex acuminate. Petioles 20–60 mm long; hairy; long-silky. Petiole hairs longer than the diameter of the petiole; appressed (pointing towards the leaf blade); straight; smooth. Leaf blades compound. Leaves not grass-like. Blades 40–75(–90) mm long, 5–20 mm wide, veins pinnate. Blade adaxial surface hairy, hairs long-silky, hairs simple, hairs sparse, hairs white, or translucent. Blade abaxial surface hairy, hairs long-silky, hairs sparse, hairs white, hairs straight, hairs appressed. Blade apices acute, or rounded. Leaflet arrangement pinnate (fresh green). Leaflets 12–24; 2–8 mm long (0.5–4 mm wide); 2–3.5 mm wide; ovate; veins inconspicuous.

Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems two or more per plant; without leaves. Flowering stems hairy. Flowering stems strigose. Flowering stem hairs simple; shorter than the diameter of the flowering stem, or longer than the diameter of the flowering stem; white or translucent and black (pointing towards the flower). Inflorescences spicate (very short pedicels and head-like); dense; (0.5–)1–2.5 cm long; 25–30 mm wide; not elongating as the fruit matures. Floral scales hairy all over (stipule-like and pilose). Flowers per inflorescence 3–7; medium-sized; bilaterally symmetrical (zygomorphic). Sepals conventional; 5; fused; 7–9 mm wide; brown. Calyx tubular; 5-lobed; hairy. Calyx hairs pilose (and fur-like); non-glandular; black (mainly but some white hairs). Calyx teeth equal or nearly so; 1–1.3 mm long. Petals conventional; both free and fused; 5; orange (towards the base), or purple (violet at the tips); with contrasting markings (and colour gradation); unlobed (four petals), or slightly lobed or undulating (banner petal); 7–11 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 16–26. Fruit sessile, or stalked; with calyx persisting; dry; a legume; elongate-cylindrical (tapering to a beak); yellowish (with black hairs); 12–15 mm long; 4–6 mm wide (inflated); glabrous; distinctly flattened; dehiscent. Legume unilocular; valves straight. Styles persisting but not modified. Seeds 8–10; 1.5–2.5 mm long (i.e., the longest dimension); brown; surfaces smooth.

Chromosome information. 2n = 32, or 48.

2n (4x) = 32. Löve and Löve (1982a, Arctic Canada, as 'johannensis');

2n (6x) = 48. Hedberg (1967, northern Canada, as 'terrae-novae'); Löve and Löve (1982a, Arctic Canada, as 'terrae-novae').

Ploidy levels recorded 4x/6x.

Taxon as an environmental indicator. In the Canadian Arctic Islands, this species was known to Polunin (1940) only from Kimmirut (Lake Harbour). It should be looked for in Iqaluit and considered as possibly an indicator of environmental change if it is found further north.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: rocks (dry sandy and gravelly areas, especially in open, sunny places in heaths or grassy areas); acidic. Plants of this taxon flower and fruit abundantly.

North American distribution. Nunavut Islands, Labrador, Newfoundland. Rare (endemic to the eastern Canadian subarctic. Locally frequent to abundant in its limited area). Arctic islands: Baffin (Kimmirut), Southampton.

Northern hemisphere distribution. North American (Porsild (1957).

General notes. This entity was treated as O. campestris var. terrae-novae by Barneby (1952) and for priority reasons as O. campestris var. minor by Gillett et al. (1999 onwards). It is a major entity in northeastern North America and is in the framework or the Panarctic Flora checklist either as a subspecies or a species. The North American plants treated as varieties of O. campestris (last century) differ much more morphologically from each other and from O. campestris s.s. than do the European subspecies and some of the Russian species. For this reason the North American plants are treated as a species distinct from European O. campestris.

Illustrations. • Herbarium specimen. Flowering specimen with yellow-orange flowers and greenish brown fused sepals that are triangular at the apices. Note finely divided leaves which are up to 7 cm long. Labrador, Komaktorvik Fiord. 19 July, 1937. V.C. Wynne-Edwards 7120. CAN 77171. • Close-up of fruits. Labrador, Cutthroat Harbour. 26 August, 1938. A.E. Porsild 197. CAN 76939. • 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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