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

Hordeum jubatum L.

English: Foxtail barley, squirreltail, squirreltail barley,

Inuktitut: Iviit, ivisuka, ivitsuskaka.

Poaceae, Grass family.

Published in Sp. Pl. 85. 1753.

Type: Habitat in Canada Kalm.

Synonymy. Elymus jubatus (L.) Link, Hort. Regius Bot. Berol. 1: 19. 1827.

Critesion jubatum (L.) Nevski, in Komarov, Fl. USSR 2: 721. 1934.

Hordeum caespitosum Scribn., in Pammel, Proc. Davenport Acad. Nat. Sci. 7: 245. 1899.

Hordeum jubatum (L.) var. caespitosum A.S. Hitchc., Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 41: 160. 1928. (Type: U.S.A. Wyoming: Geranium Park, July 1897, Pammel 157).

Vegetative morphology. Plants (15–)30–70 cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose. Only fibrous roots present. Ground level or underground stems absent. Aerial stems erect, or decumbent. Leaves distributed along the stems; alternate; marcescent. Prophylls 10 mm long (approximately); with smooth veins; lacking pronounced keels. Petioles absent. Sheaths present; with the margins fused only in the lower part; glabrous; sheath collars present. Ligules present; 0.5–1 mm long; a fringed membrane; hairy; transversely oblong. Ligule apices truncate; erose. Leaves grass-like. Blades 50–200 mm long, 1.5–4(–5) mm wide, appressed to the stem, rolled in bud, linear, flat or involute, veins parallel, midvein similar in size to other veins in the leaf. Blade adaxial surface scabrous or hairy (with long trichomes). Blade abaxial surface scabrous or hairy (with long trichomes; making the blades feel soft).

Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems two or more per plant. Flowering stems circular or oval in cross section. Flowering stems with leaves; culm nodes becoming exposed; culm nodes number visible 0–3. Inflorescences spicate (the spikelets forming a triad at each node with the central one fertile and usually sessile; the lateral ones pedicellate, and usually sterile); dense; linear, or lanceolate; 4–10 cm long (including awns); 20–40 mm wide (including awns). Inflorescences main axis hairy. Pedicels present (lateral spikelets borne on curved pedicels, 0.7–1.2 mm long), or absent (central fertile floret). Spikelets disarticulating at the nodes of the main axis (above each node, the rachis segment remaining at the base of the spikelet triad); ovate (fertile spikelet); 5.5–8 mm long; 1–1.5 mm wide. Florets per spikelet 1 (for each member of the triad). Two glumes present. First glume 1 × the length of the second glume; 1 × spikelet length; 25–60(–150) mm long; linear; with trichomes; margins ciliate; veins 1; apex acuminate. Second glume as long or longer than the spikelet (awn-like); almost as long as, or longer than, the lowest floret; 25–60 mm long (-150 mm long, including the awn). Second glume linear. Second glume with trichomes; veins 1. Rachilla not pronounced between the florets; extending beyond the uppermost floret (awn-like, sometimes with a rudimentary floret); internode 0.3–0.5 mm long; internode scabrous. Lemma elliptic; 5.5–8 mm long; rounded on the back; surface dull; surface glabrous; veins 5; apex acuminate; apex entire; apex glabrous; awned. Awn arising from the tip. Awn 10–60 mm long (awn of each lateral lateral floret is shorter than that on the central floret). Palea well developed; 5–7.5 mm long (sub-equal to lemma); veins glabrous. Flowers bilaterally symmetrical (zygomorphic). Perianth represented by lodicules. Sepals modified (but not a pappus). Stamens 3. Anthers 1–1.5 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 3; syncarpous. Ovaries glabrous. Styles 2. Placentation basal. Ovules per ovary 1. Fruit sessile; dry; a caryopsis; 6–8 mm long; indehiscent. Seeds 1.

Chromosome information. 2n (2x) = 14. Tanji (1925, Japan?); Aase (1935); Stebbins and Love (1941, southwestern USA); Chin (1941); Perak (1943, South America); Ward (1983, southwestern USA); Jahan et al. (1992);

2n (4x) = 28. Mitchell and Hodgson (1965, 1968, Alaska); Hedberg (1967, Alaska); Zhukova (1967a, northeastern Asia); Zhukova and Petrovsky (1976, western Chukotka); Zhukova et al. (1977, northeastern Asia); Löve (1980, 1984); Probatova and Sokolovskaya (1982, northeastern Asia); Rudyka (1986, Russsia-Siberia). Very numerous more southern counts.

Ploidy levels recorded 2x and 4x.

Taxon as an environmental indicator. This introduced species could be indicative of Hudson Bay store activity in an area in the past, or Northern Store activity in the present, as freighter canoes built, in Quebec near Montreal, are packed with straw for shipping, and foxtail barley seed may be present in that straw. In 2003, Carolyn Malory observed this species in two other sites in Iqaluit, away from Apex, and collected a specimen that is deposited at CAN. At one of the sites it is possible that the species has been accidentally re-introduced with lawn seed.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: dry meadows (grass meadows, disturbed locations); gravel, sand. A widespread temperate species that in Inuvik is sometimes mowed as a lawn grass. It appears to be an accidental introduction on Baffin Island.

North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, Labrador. Arctic islands: Baffin.

Northern hemisphere distribution. Amphi-Beringian, or North American. South Chukotka, West Alaska, North Alaska – Yukon, Central Canada, Labrador – Hudson Bay (a casual introduction in a few others).

General notes. This species was first collected in the Arctic islands in 1986, as an apparently accidental introduction at Apex, Frobisher Bay, Baffin Island (63°43'N, 68°27'W), in front of the former Hudson Bay Manager's house. The first introduction is suspected to have occurred in the late 1960's when straw was fed to a goat (or was it a pig?) tethered in front of the house. Plants were flourishing when observed in 1986, 1989, and again in 1998. By 2002, they were beginning to spread into a wider area towards the beach at Apex. In 2006, the population of these plants at Apex had been overgrown by a thicket of arctic willow and dense and taller plants of Poa pratensis subsp. alpigena. It was not found at the site. The species was observed elsewhere in Iqaluit in 2005, by Carolyn Mallory, but it was not at that location in 2006. As in Inuvik, this species may have potential as a lawn grass in Iqaluit.

The taxon in the Arctic is subsp. jubatum. It occurs in the Arctic regions of Alaska, the Yukon, and continental N.W.T.

Illustrations. • Close-up of plants. Introduction that possibly came in with straw used to pack freighter canoes shipped up from Montreal. This grass was observed in 1986, and was still present in 2002. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Apex, in front of the Hudson Bay Co. manager's house. • 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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