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

Tofieldia Huds.

English: False asphodel.

Tofieldiaceae, Tofieldia family.

Published in Fl. Angl., ed. 2, 1:157. 1778.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 5–20 cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose. Only fibrous roots present. Roots pallid-brown. Ground level or underground stems horizontal (rhizomes sometimes present, rarely collected: present on CAN 541779), or absent. Ground level or underground stems scales absent. Aerial stems erect. Leaves mainly basal; alternate; dying annually and non-persistent. Petioles absent. Sheaths absent. Leaves grass-like. Blades 10–50(–70) mm long, 1–3 mm wide, spreading, straight, linear, veins parallel. Blade adaxial surface glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glabrous. Blade margins entire (sometimes minutely scaberulous on margins), glabrous; apices acuminate, or acute.

Reproductive morphology. Plants bisexual. Flowering stems circular or oval in cross section. Flowering stems with leaves, or without leaves. Inflorescences head-like; dense; oblong, or globose or sub-globose, or cylindrical; 0.5–1.5 cm long; 5–8 mm wide. Involucral bracts on pedicels with bract leaves (a specialised structure the "calyculus"). Flowers per inflorescence 4–15; small. Sepals conventional (white petaloid tepals); 3; free; 2–3 mm wide; green, or yellow, or purple; petaloid. Calyx glabrous. Petals conventional; free; same length as the calyx; 3; green, or white, or yellow, or purple; obovate; unlobed; 2–3 mm long. Stamens 6. Anthers yellow; sub-globose; 0.3–0.4 mm long. Ovary carpels 3; partly fused (incompletely fused at the apex). Ovaries glabrous. Styles absent. Ovules per ovary 15–30. Fruit with calyx persisting; dry; a capsule; spherical, or ovoid, or obovate; black, or brown, or yellowish; 1–2 mm long; 1–2 mm wide; dehiscent. Seeds 6–30; 0.5–1 mm long; brown; surfaces smooth.

Chromosome information. 2n = 28–30.

Ploidy levels recorded 2x.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: hummocks, snow patches, around the margins of ponds, river terraces, tundra; imperfectly drained moist areas, dry, moderately well-drained areas; gravel, silt, till, moss; with low organic content; acidic, or calcareous.

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

General notes. The reasons why this genus is placed in its own family are documented in the notes associated with the family.


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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