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

Gentianaceae A.L. de Jussieu

English: Gentian family.

Gentianaceae, Gentian family.

Vegetative morphology. Plants (2–)4–15(–30) cm high; perennial herbs. Taproot present. Roots yellow, or pallid-brown. Ground level or underground stems absent. Aerial stems erect, or ascending (lateral branches). Leaves distributed along the stems and basal in a rosette; opposite; dying annually and non-persistent. Petioles absent. Leaf blade bases truncate, or attenuate (somewhat clasping the stem). Blades 4–20(–35) mm long, 1–6(–10) mm wide, spreading, elliptic or lanceolate or spatulate (basal leaves) or linear (to lanceolate, stem leaves), flat, with inconspicuous veins or appearing single-veined or veins reticulate. Blade adaxial surface glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glabrous. Blade margins entire; apices acuminate, or acute, or obtuse.

Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems conspicuously taller than the leaves; with leaves. Flowers solitary, or in inflorescences. Inflorescences cymose (if applicable). Flowers small, or medium-sized, or large. Sepals conventional; 4, or 5; fused (in the lower half, or only at the base); 4.5–15 mm wide; green. Calyx tubular, or rotate; 4-lobed to 5-lobed (-6 rarely); without sessile glands; glabrous. Petals conventional; fused; 4–5 (-6); white (more rarely), or blue; 5–25 mm long. Corolla tubular, or rotate; 4-lobed, or 5-lobed (rarely 6). Stamens 4, or 5; stamen filaments glabrous; fused to the corolla. Anthers purple, or yellow, or blue; short-cylindrical, or sub-globose; 0.4–0.6(–1) mm long. Nectaries present (with long hairs on the tops). Ovary carpels 2; syncarpous. Ovaries glabrous. Placentation parietal. Ovules per ovary numerous. Fruit with calyx persisting; dry; a capsule; elongate-cylindrical; yellowish, or brown; 8–25 mm long; 2–4 mm wide; glabrous; dehiscent. Seeds 0.4–1 mm long; brown; surfaces smooth (Cronquist (1981), page 872, illustrates a seed for the family as having numerous small papillae. In Arctic species the suggestion of such texture is seen at 40×, if at all).

North American distribution. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago limited. Rare. Low Arctic (in the eastern Canadian Arctic Archipelago). Arctic islands: Banks, Victoria, Somerset.

General notes. Three members of the family are represented in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. A recent treatment of the family is by Struwe et al. (2002).

In the continental Arctic Canada the following species occur.

Comastoma tenellum, (2) Gentiana nivalis, (3) Gentianella amarella (acuta, as a border case), (4) G. propinqua (incl. arctophila), (5) Gentianopsis detonsa (incl. richardsonii, a clear mainland case to be included in the flora!), (6) G. barbata (incl. raupii), and (7) Lomatogonium rotatum (Elven, personal communication, 2005).


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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