Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago
English: Alpine willow herb, fireweed
French: Épilobe à feuilles de mouron.
Onagraceae, Fireweed family.
Published in Encycl. 2: 376. 1786.
Type: France: "Mont-d'Or" [perhaps in Auvergne]. Holotype: P.
Synonymy. Epilobium alpinum L., nom. rejic., Sp. Pl. 348. 1753.
Vegetative morphology. Plants 10–20 cm high; perennial herbs. Only fibrous roots present. Ground level or underground stems absent. Caudex present (tiny). Aerial stems developed; erect (but weak and often nodding near the inflorescence). Aerial stem trichomes appressed, or retrorse. Leaves distributed along the stems; alternate, or opposite (mostly); dying annually and non-persistent. Petioles 0.5–2 mm long; glabrous. Leaf blade bases attenuate. Blades 4–20 mm long, 1–6 mm wide, spreading, elliptic or ovate or oblanceolate, flat, veins pinnate. Blade adaxial surface glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glabrous. Blade margins dentate, glabrous; apices acuminate, or acute, or obtuse, or rounded.
Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems with leaves. Flowering stems hairy. Flowering stems puberulent, or pubescent. Flowering stem hairs simple; shorter than the diameter of the flowering stem; white or translucent. Flowers solitary, or in inflorescences. Inflorescences racemose (if applicable); diffuse; elongating as the fruit matures. Pedicels glabrous, or with non-glandular hairs (sparsely). Flowers per inflorescence 1–2(–4); small (excluding length of inferior ovary), or medium-sized (including length of ovary). Sepals conventional; 4; free; 0.7–1.3 mm long; 3–4 mm wide; green and red (tinged). Calyx glabrous (upper portion of sepals), or hairy (near receptacle). Calyx hairs puberulent (if applicable); non-glandular; white or translucent. Petals conventional; free; 4; pink; spatulate; slightly lobed or undulating; 4–5 mm long; 2.8–3.2 mm wide. Stamens 8; stamen filaments glabrous. Anthers 0.3–0.4 mm long. Nectaries present (rudimentary). Ovary inferior; carpels 4; syncarpous. Ovaries glabrous (or sparsely glabrescent). Styles 1. Stigmas per ovary 4. Placentation axile. Ovules per ovary numerous. Fruit stalked; stalk 20–40 mm long; dry; a capsule (more or less nodding); elongate-cylindrical; black, or red (black); 20–35 mm long; 1–1.5 mm wide; hairy (with glandular hairs, a distinction from E. arctica); surface appearing veinless; not distinctly flattened; dehiscent; splitting to the base into separate segments; teeth 4. Seeds numerous; 1.2–1.5 mm long (with a tuft of silky hairs approximately 6 mm long); brown, or yellowish; surfaces smooth, ridged (slightly).
Chromosome information. 2n = 36.
2n = 36. Böcher (1938a, northern Europe); Böcher and Larsen (1950, Greenland); Löve and Löve (1956, Iceland); Packer (1964, western Canada); Knaben and Engelskjøn (1967, Norway); Johnson and Packer (1968, northwestern Alaska); Knaben (1968, Alaska); Taylor and Mulligan (1968, western Canada); Krogulevich (1971, Siberia); Seavey and Raven (1977); Zhukova (1980, southern Chukotka; 1982, northeastern Asia). Several more southern counts.
Ploidy levels recorded 4x.
Ecology and habitat. Substrates: wet meadows, around the margins of ponds, marshes, along streams, slopes, seashores, dry meadows; imperfectly drained moist areas, dry, moderately well-drained areas; gravel, silt, moss; with low organic content, with high organic content. Raised mossy berms/dykes; rooting in moist organics, slightly raised above saturated soils. Habitat notes on specimens collected from Greenland: stony moraines; dry slopes at sea beach; wet edge of stream; wet moss by brook; wet grassy place; rich meadow behind settlement; sandstone slopes.
North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, northern Quebec, Labrador. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago not yet recorded. The specimen for a record from Ellesmere Island is now considered to be a plant of E. arcticum. Porsild and Cody mapped it as occurring in Alaska, Yukon, western Northwest Territories, with a large gap before eastern Hudson Bay, northern Quebec, and Greenland. Low Arctic, alpine.
Northern hemisphere distribution. Circumpolar, or circumboreal (disjunctly alpine-arctic, gaps between west and east North America and in most of northern Asia). Northern Iceland, Northern Fennoscandian, KaninPechora, Polar Ural Novaya Zemlya, YamalGydan, South Chukotka, East Chukotka, West Alaska, North Alaska Yukon, Labrador Hudson Bay, West Greenland, East Greenland.
General notes. Porsild (1957) stated that this species was doubtfully collected from southern Baffin Island. The suggestion that the species occurs on Ellesmere Island was based on a specimen (CAN 532958) from Hot Weather Creek. It was redetermined as E. arcticum in May 2001.
Skvortsov (in a draft for the Panarctic Flora Checklist (Elven et al. 2003), and elsewhere) proposed E. alpinum as valid name of this taxon, but this name is now rejected (ICBN), even if it was lectotypified on Linnaean material corresponding to this species (LINN 486.8) already, by Marshall, J. Bot. 45: 367.1907.
Earlier records of E. alpinum usually refer to this species. Two of the chromosome count reports of 'E. alpinum' are, however, enigmatic, as they give the deviant number of 2n = 32 (Krogulevich 1971, southern Siberia, Scholte 1977). There are also two diploid counts (2n = 18) under this name from central Europe (Mattick, in Tischler 1950) and from the Caucasus (Gvinianidze and Avazneli 1982).
Illustrations. • Close-up of plant. Plant typically with nodding or prostrate stems in flowering stage. It becomes erect in fruiting stage but with nodding fruits. Norway, Nordland, Saltdal. August, 1995. Photograph by R. Elven.
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..