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

×Pucciphippsia vacillans (Th. Fr.) Tzvelev

Poaceae, Grass family.

Published in Novosti Sist. Vyssh. Rast. (Leningrad) 8: 76. 1971. Probably a hybrid Phippsia algida ? Puccinellia vahliana (Hedberg 1962).

Type: Described from Spitzbergen, Belsound, at foot of the hills, a J.Vahl collection became Th. Fries 1869.

Synonymy. Catabrosa concinna Th. Fr. subsp. vacillans Th. Fr., in Öfvers. Förh. Kongl. Vetensk. Akad. Stockh. 26: 142. 1869.

Puccinellia vacillans (Th.Fr.) Schol., Skr. Svalbard Nordishavet 62: 95. 1934.

Colpodium vacillans (Th. Fr.) Polunin, Circumpolar Arct. Fl. 46. 1959.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 15–23 cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose. Only fibrous roots present. Ground level or underground stems absent. Aerial stems erect. Leaves distributed along the stems; alternate; marcescent. Petioles absent. Sheaths present; with the margins fused only in the lower part; glabrous; sheath collars present. Ligules present; 1.3–2.7 mm long; membranous; glabrous; ovate-oblong. Ligule apices acute, or obtuse; entire. Leaves grass-like. Blades 30–80 mm long, 1.5–2.5 mm wide, spreading, folded in bud, linear, flat or involute, veins parallel, midvein conspicuously larger than the lateral veins, bulliform cells in distinct rows on either side of the midvein. Blade adaxial surface glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glabrous.

Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems two or more per plant. Flowering stems circular or oval in cross section. Flowering stems culm nodes becoming exposed; number visible 0–2. Flag leaf sheaths inflated, or not inflated. Inflorescences paniculate; dense; lanceolate (a contracted panicle, or diffuse); 3–4 cm long; 10–20 mm wide. Inflorescences main axis glabrous. Number of inflorescence branches at lowest node 5 (or more). Inflorescence primary branches 1.4–14 mm long; glabrous; with appressed secondary branches, or with spreading secondary branches. Spikelets disarticulating above the glumes; lanceolate to ovate; 2.5–3 mm long; 0.8–1.6 mm wide (Phippsia-like). Florets per spikelet (1–)2(–3). Two glumes present (not caducous). First glume 0.5–0.65 × the length of the second glume; 0.2–0.25 × spikelet length; 0.5–0.8 mm long; ovate; glabrous; margins glabrous; veins 0–1; apex obtuse. Second glume 0.4 × as long as the spikelet or less; shorter than the lowest floret; 1.1–1.3 mm long. Second glume ovate. Second glume glabrous; veins 1. Rachilla not pronounced between the florets; extending beyond the uppermost floret; internode 0.2–2.2 mm long; internode glabrous, or hairy. Callus not differentiated. Lemma ovate; 2.3–2.5 mm long; rounded on the back; surface dull; surface hairy; surface with trichomes on and between the veins (in lower third); veins (1–)3; apex acute; apex entire, or erose; awnless. Palea well developed; 2–2.3 mm long; veins hairy. Flowers bilaterally symmetrical (zygomorphic); bisexual. Perianth represented by lodicules. Stamens 3. Anthers 0.9–1 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 3; syncarpous. Styles 2. Placentation basal. Ovules per ovary 1. Fruit sessile; dry; a caryopsis (not yet found for specimens from the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, 2003); indehiscent.

Chromosome information. 2n = 21 (Hedberg 1962).

2n (3x) = 21. Hedberg (1962, northern Canada); Steen (2000, Svalbard, three sites).

Ploidy levels recorded 3x.

Taxon as an environmental indicator. This species is usually found growing with Phippsia.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: wet meadows, around the margins of ponds, tundra (damp open habitats); imperfectly drained moist areas, seepage slopes; silt, till, moss; calcareous.

North American distribution. Initially known in Canada from Craig Harbour, Ellesmere Island, and near Resolute, Cornwallis Island (Hedberg 1967). This species was collected in 1999 and 2000 on Axel Heiberg, Devon, Bathurst, and Baffin Islands by Gillespie, Consaul and Soreng (Vouchers at CAN, US). Nunavut Islands (more areas?). Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago limited. Uncommon. Arctic islands: Baffin, Devon, Ellesmere, Axel Heiberg, Parry islands (Bathurst), Cornwallis.

Northern hemisphere distribution. Amphi-Atlantic. Svalbard – Franz Joseph Land, Polar Ural – Novaya Zemlya, Central Canada, Ellesmere Land – Peary Land, East Greenland.

General notes. Boivin (1967) published ?Maltea for what he considered to be the intergeneric hybrid Phippsia × Puccinellia. As this is not a condensed formula, the name cannot be used for that intergeneric hybrid for which the correct name is ×Pucciphippsia Tzvelev (1971). Boivin did, however, provide a Latin description and designate a type; consequently, Maltea is a validly published generic name and is correct if its type is treated as belonging to a separate genus, not a nothogenus (Greuter et al. 1994).

Hedberg (1962) found this hybrid growing at an archeological site, on Cornwallis Island, near the former site of the village at Resolute close to the seashore. His detailed description includes photographs comparing spikelets, leaf cross sections, and chromosome studies. Canadian ×Pucciphippsia involves Phippsia algida as the Phippsia parent, but in Europe, hybrids with P. concinna may occur (Hedberg 1962). This may explain slight differences between this description and that given by Halliday and Hughes (1980). A study of ×Pucciphippsia in Svalbard indicated that specimens there were triploid and sterile. Additive banding in one enzyme supported its origin as a Puccinellia ×Phippsia hybrid, and morphological evidence suggested that P. algida is the most probable Phippsia parent (Steen et al. 2004).

Illustrations. • Habitat. Plants growing on moist stony plateau, near Nanisivik airport, Nunavut, Baffin Island, 9 August, 1999. L.J. Gillespie 6693, L.L. Consaul and R.J. Soreng. CAN. • Close-up of plant. Plants displayed to show developing inflorescences with slightly spreading branches. Nunavut, Devon Island, Dundas Harbour, west of harbour mouth, 7431.3'N, 8233.5'W. 8 August, 1999. L.J. Gillespie 6683, L.L. Consaul and R.J. Soreng. CAN. • Close-up of plant. Inflorescence approaching anthesis with branches beginning to spread. Nunavut, Devon Island, Dundas Harbour, west of harbour mouth, 7431.3'N, 8233.5'W. 8 August, 1999. L.J. Gillespie 6683, L.L. Consaul and R.J. Soreng. CAN. • Close-up of inflorescence. Inflorescence of spikelets that have two florets at anthesis, with anthers 0.9–1 mm long. Nunavut, Devon Island, Dundas Harbour, west of harbour mouth, 7431.3'N, 8233.5'W. 8 August, 1999. L.J. Gillespie 6683, L.L. Consaul and R.J. Soreng. CAN. • 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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