Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago
English: Richardson's phlox.
Polemoniaceae, Polemonium family.
Published in Bot. App., ed. 2, 6, t. 28. 1823.
Type: Described from western Canada.
Synonymy. Phlox richardsonii Hook., Fl. Bor.-Amer. 2: 73, t. 160. 1837.
Phlox sibirica L. subsp. richardsonii (Hook.) Hultén, Ark. Bot., n. s., 7, 1: 111. 1968a.
Vegetative morphology. Plants 3–10 cm high; perennial herbs; not glandular viscid. Only fibrous roots present. Fibrous roots from horizontal stems at ground-level. Ground level or underground stems horizontal; stoloniferous (or shallowly buried); elongate; 1–3 mm wide (CAN 468109). Horizontal stems at ground level, branching extensively to shape plant habit as mats. Caudex present (much branched and sub-ligneous). Aerial stems erect. Leaves present; distributed along the stems; opposite (these seen at the ends of branches; elsewhere leaves overlapping closely); persistent. Petioles absent. Leaf blades simple. Leaf blade bases truncate. Blades 6–7(–8.5) mm long (terminal leaves CAN 582424), 0.8–1 mm wide, spreading, linear, flat or involute, veins parallel. Blade adaxial surface glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glabrous. Blade margins entire, with non-glandular hairs (that are longer than the leaf diameter, cobweb-like, and covering the plants); apices acuminate (short, at the ends of the branches).
Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems two or more per plant; with leaves. Flowers solitary. Flowers medium-sized (expanded corolla 13 mm in diameter. Porsild 17528); radially symmetrical (actinomorphic). Sepals conventional; 5; fused; 4–5 mm wide; green. Calyx tubular; 5-lobed (with 5 linear leaf-like lobes); hairy. Calyx hairs woolly (hairs mainly on the margins, "arachnoid-pubescent", Hultén 1968b); non-glandular; white or translucent. Petals conventional; fused; 5 (astervate in bud, convolute in flower); pink, or purple (colour fading with age); with contrasting markings (centre of the flower near the throat is yellow); 14–16 mm long (the tube a little longer than the petal lobes); not spurred. Corolla tubular (at base), or rotate (free petal lobes); 5-lobed. Stamens 3–5; stamen filaments glabrous; fused to the corolla. Anthers yellow; ellipsoid; 1.4–1.7 mm long. Nectaries present (a a ring at the base of the ovary). Ovary superior; carpels 3; syncarpous. Ovaries ovate; glabrous. Styles 1; 7.5–8.5 mm long; straight. Stigmas per ovary 3. Stigma lobes 1–1.3 mm long. Placentation axile. Ovules per ovary numerous. Fruit sessile (sub-sessile), or stalked; with calyx persisting; dry; a capsule; ovoid; not distinctly flattened; dehiscent; splitting to the base into separate segments.
Chromosome information. 2n = 14 (?).
2n =14 (?). There appears to be no count for this taxon, but other taxa in the Phlox sibirica complex have 2n =14, for example, P. sibirica L. Mulligan and Porsild, in Löve (1970a), and P. alaskensis Jordal, Johnson and Packer (1968, as P. sibirica).
Ecology and habitat. Substrates: slopes, ridges, seashores, barrens; dry; gravel, sand; with low organic content; calcareous. "Windswept, sandy or gravelly hilltops or barrens" Porsild (1957).
North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories Islands, continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut. Arctic islands: Banks.
Northern hemisphere distribution. North American (American Beringian), or Cordilleran (with gap in northern Cordillera). North Alaska Yukon, Central Canada.
General notes. The flowers are very fragrant.
This taxon is a northwestern North American endemic. Murray, in Elven et al. (2005) noted that Porsild (1966) felt there was, in addition to P. alaskensis, a single, variable taxon in Alaska, Yukon, and elsewhere in Arctic Canada, and he chose the name 'richardsonii'. Murray agrees there is one taxon but suggests using the name 'hoodii', stating, "When specimens are examined from the area where only P. hoodii is found (Wyoming), it is possible to see within a series the full range of morphs of what passes for 'hoodii' and 'richardsonii'. The differences among specimens are the kinds one would expect from environmental modifications. The extremes are distinct but linked by numerous transitional forms. The essential architecture of the leaves, upon which the taxonomy is heavily based, is unchanged whether growth is lax or condensed or the leaves long or short. Good 'hoodii' occurs on terraces of the Porcupine River (northeastern Alaska) in open stands of white spruce and good 'richardsonii' grows just metres away on the steep, dry slopes above. Plants in arctic Northwest Territories are indistinguishable from those in alpine Yukon." This has led us to use the name P. hoodii.
Illustrations. • Habitat. Plants growing with Salix arctica on a sandy bank adjacent to the sea. N.W.T., Banks Island, Sachs Harbour. 14 July, 1999. Aiken 99–070. CAN. Scale bar in cm. • Plant habit. Plants growing on a bank above the beach. N.W.T., Banks Island, Sachs Harbour. 27 July, 1981. J.M Gillett 18870. • Habitat. Left, plants convolute in bud. Anthers ripen sequentially until there are five yellow anthers. The petals of young flowers are a deep purple-pink and gradually fade as the flower ages to a pale pink. Two of the flowers with fading petals show three-lobed stigmas arising from a single style. N.W.T., Banks Island, Sachs Harbour. 14 July, 1999. Aiken 99–070. CAN. • Habitat. Plants growing with Salix arctica on sandy bank adjacent to the sea. The petals of young flowers are a deep purple-pink and gradually fade as the flower ages to a pale pink. The flowers in the sun flowered first and have thus faded first. N.W.T., Banks Island, Sachs Harbour. 14 July, 1999. Aiken 99–070. CAN. • Close-up of flowers. Note flowers that show three or four or five anthers. The filaments are attached to the petals at different levels and the anthers ripen at different times. N.W.T., Banks Island, Sachs Harbour. 27 July, 1981. J.M. Gillett 18870. • 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..