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 coccinea Richardson, in Franklin

English: Pink-flowered asphodel, northern tofieldia,

French: Tofieldie écarlate.

Tofieldiaceae, Tofieldia family.

Published in Narr. Journey Polar Sea 736. 1823.

Type: Canada: Mackenzie District, at the Arctic Sea near Bathurst Inlet.

Synonymy. Tofieldia coccinea var. major Hooker, Fl. Bor.-Amer. 2: 179. 1839.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 5–10(–12) cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose. Only fibrous roots present. Roots pallid-brown. Ground level or underground stems absent. Aerial stems erect. Leaves mainly basal; alternate; dying annually and non-persistent. Petioles absent. Sheaths absent. Leaves grass-like. Blades 10–40 mm long, 1–2 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. Flowering stems circular or oval in cross section. Flowering stems with leaves (one or more on purple stems). Inflorescences head-like; dense; globose or sub-globose, or cylindrical; 0.8–1.5 cm long; 5–8 mm wide. Pedicels absent (subtended by tiny bracts about 1 mm long, on short pedicels). Involucral bracts on pedicels with bract leaves (a specialised structure the "calyculus"). Flowers per inflorescence 5–15; small. Sepals conventional (white petaloid tepals); 3; free; 2–3 mm wide; purple; petaloid. Calyx glabrous. Petals conventional; free; same length as the calyx; 3; purple; obovate; unlobed; 2–3 mm long. Stamens 6. Anthers yellow; sub-globose; 0.3–0.4 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 3; partly fused (incompletely fused at the apex). Ovaries glabrous. Styles absent (or very short each carpel with a stubby stigma). Ovules per ovary 15–30. Fruit with calyx persisting; dry; a capsule; spherical; yellowish, or black; 1.5–2 mm long; 1.5–2 mm wide; dehiscent. Seeds 15–30; 0.8–1 mm long (3× longer than wide); brown (golden); surfaces smooth.

Chromosome information. 2n (2x) = 30. Jørgensen et al. (1958, Greenland); Sokolovskaya (1963, northeastern Asia, Kamtch; 1968, northeastern, Asia, Koryak); Johnson and Packer (1968, northwestern Alaska); Zhukova (1980, southern Chukotka).

2n = 32. Sokolovskaya and Strelkova (1960); Zhukova (1967a, northeastern Asia); Zhukova and Petrovsky (1975, western Chukotka); Krogulevich (1976, southern and northern Siberia; 1978, 1984, southern Siberia); Yurtsev and Zhukova (1978, eastern Chukotka; 1982, northern Siberia).

Ploidy levels recorded 2x.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: snow patches, tundra; dry, moderately well-drained areas; gravel, moss; with low organic content; calcareous. Reported with ericaceous shrubs and often localised.

North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories Islands, continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago limited. Uncommon. Arctic (nearly). Arctic islands: Baffin, Devon (Crocker Bay, 74°32W, 82°47'N 25–26 08,1999, Reidar Elven, O), Banks, Victoria.

Northern hemisphere distribution. Circumpolar (with gap in northern Europe). Polar Ural – Novaya Zemlya, Yamal–Gydan, Taimyr – Severnaya Zemlya, Anabar–Olenyok, Kharaulakh, Yana–Kolyma, West Chukotka, South Chukotka, East Chukotka, West Alaska, North Alaska – Yukon, Central Canada, Labrador – Hudson Bay, Ellesmere Land – Peary Land, West Greenland, East Greenland.

General notes. The reasons for placing this species in the family Tofieldiaceae are documented in the notes associated with the family.

Parker (2002) noted that what appear to be hybrids between Tofieldia pusilla and T. coccinea occasionally occur in Greenland and the Northwest Territories. They are characterised by a leafy bract at or near the middle of the stem and enlarged, crimson bracts below the pedicels. In some suspected hybrids, the bracts are absent, and fused bracteoles, truncate or lobed, sheathe the pedicels well below the flowers.

Tanaka (1981) reported that T. coccinea var. kondoi has small-sized chromosomes and 2n = 30. Utech (1978) reported on the floral vascular anatomy and floral morphology of T. coccinea.

Illustrations. • Habitat: Baffin Island, Iqaluit. Plants beside the marker. Note relatively broad leaves and capitate pinkish inflorescences. Baffin Island, Iqaluit, near parking lot of main entrance to Sylvia Grinnell Park. 31 July, 2005. Aiken 05–067. CAN. • Close-up of plant. Note pale yellow-green lanceolate leaves, flowering stems with a leaf, head-like inflorescences, of several pale pinkish purple flowers with deep purple carpels. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit, Sylvia Grinnell Park. 31 July, 2005. Aiken 05–067. CAN 586939. Photograph by Kathie Thornhill. • Side view of flowering head. Head-like inflorescence of several flowers with pale pinkish petals. Note leaf and fine hairs on flowering stem. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit, Sylvia Grinnell Park. 31 July, 2005. Aiken 05–067. CAN 586939. Photograph by Kathie Thornhill. • Close-up of flowers. Flowers with 3 deeper pink sepals, three paler pink petals, 6 anthers and three carpels with sessile stigmas. Aiken 05–067. CAN 586939. Photograph by Kathy Thornhill. • Habitat. Plant in calcareous heath with Dryas. Alaska, Alaska Range, Donnelly Dome. July, 1998. Voucher at 0. Phototograph by R. Elven. • Close-up of plant. Note dense cushions of grass-like leaves and dark flowers, separating this from T. pusilla. Alaska, Yukon/Tanana Valleys, uplands North of Minto Flats. July, 1998. Photograph by H.H. Grundt. • 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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