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

Lomatogonium rotatum (L.) Fr. ex Fernald

English: Marsh felwort,

French: Lomatogobe rotacé.

Gentianaceae, Gentian family.

Published in Rhodora 21: 194. 1919.

Type: Described from Siberia (leg. Gmelin) and Canada (leg. Kalm).

Synonymy. Swertia rotata L., Sp. Pl. 226. 1753.

Pleurogyne rotata (L.) Griseb. var. tenuifolia Griseb., Gen. Sp. Gent. 309. 1839.

Lomatogonium rotatum (L.) Fr. ex Fernald subsp. tenuifolium (Griseb.) A.E.Porsild, Bull. Natl. Mus. Canada 135: 174. 1951.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 5–10(–30) cm high (on continental North America); annual herbs, or biennial herbs. Taproot present (poorly developed). Roots yellow. Aerial stems erect. Leaves distributed along the stems and basal in a rosette; opposite; dying annually and non-persistent. Petioles absent. Leaf blade bases truncate. Leaves not grass-like. Blades 5–20 mm long, 1–3 mm wide, spreading, lanceolate or spatulate (basal leaves) or linear (to lanceolate, stem leaves), flat, with inconspicuous veins. Blade adaxial surface glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glabrous. Blade margins entire; apices obtuse.

Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems conspicuously taller than the leaves; with leaves. Flowers in inflorescences (terminal single flowers, lateral branches bearing flowers). Inflorescences cymose (if applicable). Flowers medium-sized (continental North America). Sepals conventional; 4, or 5; fused (only near the base; essentially free); 5–15 mm wide (0.5–1.5 mm wide); green (linear-lanceolate, acute). Calyx rotate; 4-lobed, or 5-lobed (or 6-lobed); glabrous. Petals conventional; fused (at the base only); 4, or 5(–6); blue, or white (rarely); 5–10 mm long; not spurred. Corolla rotate (the tube very short, not folded, each lobe bearing several fringed scales at the base); 4-lobed, or 5-lobed (the lobes ovate to pointed). Stamens 4, or 5; stamen filaments glabrous (flattened); fused to the corolla (at the base). Anthers blue; short-cylindrical; 0.4–0.6 mm long. Nectaries present (at the base of the corolla tube alternate with the stamens). Ovary superior; carpels 2; syncarpous. Ovaries oblong; glabrous. Placentation parietal. Ovules per ovary 100 (numerous). Fruit sessile; with calyx persisting; dry; a capsule; ellipsoid (the valves strongly recurved at the tip); yellowish, or brown; 10–15 mm long (exserted from the marcescent and closed corolla); 3–4 mm wide; glabrous; dehiscent. Seeds 0.5–0.75 mm long (longer than wide); brown; surfaces smooth (slight texture seen at 40×).

Chromosome information. 2n = 10 and 16.

2n (2x, x = 5?). 10. D. Löve (1953, Iceland); Löve and Löve (1956, Iceland; 1982a, Arctic Canada);

2n (2x, x = 8?) = 16. Löve and Löve (1986); Yuan and Küpfer (1993, China).

Löve and Löve (1975) gave the basic number as x = 5, based on two old Icelandic counts alone. Later counts might indicate a basic number of x = 8. The counts of this very widespread species are much too few to be relied on, and three of the four rely on counts made by the Löves.

Ploidy levels recorded 2x.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: imperfectly drained moist areas; with low organic content, with high organic content (Elven (personal communication, 2005) commented that he has most often found this species on nearly mineral soil, silt, clay or gravel, and mostly in open situations in gaps in meadow and shallow marsh vegetation).

North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories Islands, continental Northwest Territories, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec, Labrador. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago limited. Rare. Low Arctic. Arctic islands: Victoria.

Northern hemisphere distribution. Circumpolar, or circumboreal (very disjunct). Northern Iceland, Northern Fennoscandian, Kanin–Pechora, South Chukotka, East Chukotka, West Alaska, North Alaska – Yukon, Central Canada, Labrador – Hudson Bay, West Greenland.

General notes. This is a readily recognised species in the Canadian Arctic Islands. With reference to Alaskan plants, Elven et al. (2003) noted that Cody (1996) accepted two races: the coastal subsp. rotatum and the inland subsp. tenuifolium (Griseb.) A.E. Porsild. The latter is found only in western North America and reaches the Arctic in northern Yukon Territory. The plant drawn for Hultén (1968b) obviously is of this inland type. In April 2001, Murray and Elven looked through the inland material in ALA from Alaska and Yukon and found no consistent differences. Some of the inland plants differ appreciably from the coastal ones, others did not. No consistent differences between coastal and inland plants were found.

Illustrations. • Habitat. Plants with single pale blue flowers, near the markers, growing above high tide line in a coastal grassy meadow. First year plants are small; second year plants are much larger. Manitoba, Churchill, Beech Cove. Aiken and Brysting 01–023a. CAN. • Plant habit. Plants 30–40 cm high with blue flowers behind the markers growing above high tide line in a coastal grassy meadow. Manitoba, Churchill, Beech Cove. Aiken and Brysting 01–023a. CAN. • Habitat. Plants with blue star-like flowers near the pencil, growing along a stream bank, above high tide line in a coastal grassy meadow. Manitoba, Churchill, Beech Cove. Aiken and Brysting 01–023a. CAN. • Habitat. Plants, less than 10 cm high, growing in a marshy area among Carex aquatilis. N.W.T., Tuktoyaktuk. Aiken and Brysting 01–114. CAN. Scale bar in cm. • Close-up of plants. Plants much less than 10 cm high, visible as single blue star-like flowers, one with four and one with five petals. Aiken and Brysting 01–114. CAN. Scale bar in cm. • Close-up of flowers. Flower with 6 linear, green, calyx segments; 6 purple-blue petals fused at the base and with prominent insect guidelines; and 5 anthers. Manitoba, Churchill, Beech Cove. Aiken and Brysting 01–023a. CAN. • Close-up of 4-merous flower. Flower with 4 purple-blue petals, stamens with dehisced anthers that are shedding pollen and a developing gynoecium at the base with white fringed tips on the top of the nectaries. Aiken and Brysting 01–023a. CAN. • Close-up of 5-merous flower. Post-anthesis flower with an insect crawling on one of 5 linear sepals. Note the 5 purple-blue petals, the anthers that are no longer present, the nectaries near the gynoecium with a white fringe on the top. Aiken and Brysting 01–023a. CAN. • Plant drawing. a, plant, actual height approximately 25 cm high; b, rotate corolla showing pointed tips to the petals and anthers attached at the base of the petals; c, calyx with sepals essentially free; d, seed. Plate from Gillett (1963) with permission. • 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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