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

Festuca altaica Trin.

Poaceae, Grass family.

Published in In Ledeb., Fl. Altaic. 1: 109. 1829.

Vegetative morphology. Only fibrous roots present. Aerial stems erect. Leaves mainly basal; alternate; marcescent. Petioles absent. Sheaths present; sheath collars present. Ligules present; membranous; hairy (ciliate at the apex). Leaves grass-like. Blades rolled in bud, linear, veins parallel. Blade abaxial surface dull. Blade margins flat or slightly revolute.

Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems circular or oval in cross section. Flowering stems with leaves. Inflorescences paniculate; pyramidal. Spikelets disarticulating above the glumes. Two glumes present. Flowers bilaterally symmetrical (zygomorphic); bisexual. Stamens 3. Styles 2. Placentation basal. Ovules per ovary 1. Fruit sessile; dry; a caryopsis; hairy (with a few sparse hairs at the apex); indehiscent. Seeds 1.

Chromosome information. 2n = 28. Löve and Löve (1975) listed several counts, five as arctic, e.g., Bowden (1960a, Alaska); Sokolovskaya (1963, northeastern Asia, Kamtch); Holmen (1964, Alaska); Zhukova (1967a, 1968, northeastern Asia); Johnson and Packer (1968, northwestern Alaska); Knaben (1968, central Alaska); Sokolovskaya (1968, northeastern Asia Koryak); Mulligan and Porsild (1970, Yukon); Krogulevich (1976a, northern Siberia); Yurtsev and Zhukova (1978, eastern Chukotka); Dawe and Murray, in Löve (1979, Alaska); Probatova and Sokolovskaya (1980, southern and northern Siberia); Löve (1981b, central Canada); Pavlick and Looman (1984); Alexeev et al. (1987); Zhukova and Petrovsky (1987b, northeastern Asia); Aiken and Fedak (1992). Some additional more southern counts.

Ploidy levels recorded 4x.

North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, continental Northwest Territories, continental Nunavut (?), northern Quebec (?).

Northern hemisphere distribution. Amphi-Beringian, or North American, or Cordilleran (eastern). Taimyr – Severnaya Zemlya, Anabar–Olenyok, Kharaulakh, Yana–Kolyma, West Chukotka, South Chukotka, East Chukotka, West Alaska, North Alaska – Yukon, Central Canada, Labrador – Hudson Bay.

General notes. Yukon plants of this species were transplanted to an experimental garden in the grounds of Nunavut Arctic College by Aiken in 1989. Almost all the plants were alive and flowering in 2002, but there was no evidence of new plants or vegetative spread to adjacent areas.

Illustrations. • Habitat: Baffin Island. A row of about 8 surviving tussocks of Festuca altaica in the grounds of Arctic College, Iqaluit, near the foreground marker. A transplant garden was set up in 1989 and included these plants brought from the Yukon. 19 August, 2006. Aiken. CAN. • Close-up of plants. Tussocks of Festuca altaica with inflorescences. Baffin Island, Iqaluit, grounds of Arctic College, transplant garden set up in 1989. 19 August, 2006. Aiken. CAN. • Inflorescences. Post-anthesis inflorescences, straw-like and without seed set. Baffin Island, Iqaluit, grounds of Arctic College, transplant garden set up in 1989. 19 August, 2006. Aiken. CAN. • Plant in cliff habitat. Plant on exposed cliff. Alaska, White Mountains, Eagle Summit. July, 1998. Photograph by R. Elven. Voucher at O. • Close-up of inflorescences. Inflorescences with paired, drooping lower branches. Alaska, Krusenstern National Monument, Sheshalik. July, 2001. Photograph by Heidi Solstad. Voucher at ALA.


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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