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

Puccinellia tenella (Lange) Holmb. subsp. langeana (Berlin) Tzvelev

English: Tundra alkali grass, Lange's alkali grass,

French: Puccinelliade Lange,

Inuktitut: Iviit, ivisuka, ivitsuskaka.

Poaceae, Grass family.

Published in Fl. Arct. URSS 2: 190. 1964.

Type: Greenland: Western Greenland, Kangâtsiaq, 3 Jun. 1883, leg. A. Berlin. Isotypes: S and UPS.

Synonymy. Glyceria langeana Berlin, Öfvers. Förh. Svenska Vetensk.-Akad. 41, 7: 79. 1884.

Puccinellia langeana (Berlin) T.J. Sørensen, in Hultén, Lunds Univ. ârsskr., n. f., avd. 2, 46, 1: 1710. 1950 (subsp. langeana).

Phippsia langeana (Berlin) Á. Löve and D. Löve, Bot. Not. 128: 499. 1976 (subsp. langeana).

Puccinellia paupercula (Holm) Fernald and Weath., Rhodora 18: 18.1916, pro parte.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 5–22 cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose. Only fibrous roots present. Ground level or underground stems absent. Aerial stems erect. Leaves mainly basal; alternate; marcescent. Prophylls 5–15 mm long; 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; 0.5–1.7 mm long; membranous; glabrous; ovate-oblong, or transversely oblong. Ligule apices acute, or obtuse, or truncate; entire. Leaves grass-like. Blades 22–140 mm long, 0.4–0.7 mm wide (when rolled), appressed to the stem or spreading, rolled in bud, linear, without auricles (ligules decurrent), flat (rarely) or involute, veins parallel, midvein similar in size to other veins in the leaf. 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 not exposed (even in etiolated specimens). Inflorescences paniculate; dense (usually), or diffuse; lanceolate, or ovate; 3–6 cm long; 8–15 mm wide. Inflorescences main axis glabrous. Number of inflorescence branches at lowest node 2–3. Inflorescence primary branches (5–)15–25 mm long; glabrous; with appressed secondary branches, or with spreading secondary branches. Spikelets disarticulating above the glumes (or usually merely withering as the flowers are sterile); ovate; 3–7 mm long; 1.5–2.2 mm wide (spikelets often intensely purple). Florets per spikelet 3–6. Two glumes present. First glume 0.42–0.75 × the length of the second glume; 0.16–0.32 × spikelet length; 0.7–1.4 mm long; lanceolate; glabrous; margins glabrous; veins 1; apex acuminate. Second glume 0.4 × as long as the spikelet or less; almost as long as, or longer than, the lowest floret; 1.3–2.1 mm long. Second glume lanceolate. Second glume glabrous; margins glabrous; veins 3. Rachilla not pronounced between the florets; extending beyond the uppermost floret; internode 0.4–1.1 mm long; internode 0.07–0.1 mm wide; internode glabrous. Callus differentiated; hairs 0–0.08 mm long. Lemma oblong; 2–3 mm long; keeled; surface dull; surface glabrous (or rarely with some hairs on the lateral veins at the base); veins (4–)5(–6); apex acute, or rounded; apex entire, or erose; apex glabrous; awnless. Palea well developed; 2–2.7 mm long; veins glabrous. Flowers bilaterally symmetrical (zygomorphic). Perianth represented by lodicules. Stamens 3. Anthers 0.6–0.9 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 3; syncarpous. Styles 2. Placentation basal. Ovules per ovary 1. Fruit sessile; dry; a caryopsis; 1–1.5 mm long; indehiscent. Seeds 1.

Chromosome information. 2n = 14.

2n (2x) = 14. Jørgensen et al. (1958, Greenland); Löve and Löve 1975; Löve and Löve (1981a, northern Canada).

Ploidy levels recorded 2x.

Taxon as an environmental indicator. Plants of this species are indicative of the zone reached by the highest tides.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: seashores; imperfectly drained moist areas, moderately well-drained areas; rocks, gravel, sand, clay; peat (occasionally); halophytic. Occurring in peat bogs, wet sand and clay, just above the high tide zone.

North American distribution. More commonly in the eastern and western Low Arctic, not in the Queen Elizabeth Islands. Although Hultén (1968) and Porsild (1964) recorded it only once between Alaska and Hudson Bay, the map presented here shows additional collections from that region. Alaska, Yukon, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec, Labrador. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago limited. Uncommon. Low Arctic, coastal. Arctic islands: Baffin, Banks (Stefansson and Winter), Southampton, Coats (Melville Peninsula).

Northern hemisphere distribution. Amphi-Beringian, or North American (with a gap between Pacific and Atlantic areas). South Chukotka, East Chukotka, West Alaska, North Alaska – Yukon, Central Canada, Labrador – Hudson Bay, Ellesmere Land – Peary Land, West Greenland.

General notes. The description given here is based on specimens that were annotated by T.J. Sørensen as subsp. typica. Sørensen (1953) stated that the taxonomy and nomenclature of this taxon were disputed from the time it was first recognised as Glyceria langeana Berlin. He recognised the specimens from North America as subsp. typica, distinct from those in Asia (subsp. asiatica T.J. Sørensen) and Alaska (subsp. alaskana (Scribn. and Merr.) T.J. Sørensen). He commented that the epidermis of the leaves of the P. langeana group is unusual when compared with other arctic Puccinellia species because there are relatively few stomata on the underside of the leaf and the leaf margins are finely crenulate from short, rounded, marginal cells.

This taxon was distinguished by the absence of hairs on the callus, lemma base, and palea. However, some specimens annotated by Sørensen as this taxon were found to have a ring of small callus hairs, to 0.05 mm long (Consaul and Gillespie 2001). These specimens are still readily separated from the other Puccinellia species in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago by the size and lack of hairs on the almost completely glabrous plants and in usually having no trichomes on the margins of the lemmas or glumes (see image library).

In multivariate analyses, small very slightly hairy P. andersonii plants grouped very closely with P. langeana specimens (Consaul and Gillespie 2001). An isotype specimen of P. andersonii was a mixed collection of P. langeana and P. andersonii. The close similarity of small P. andersonii plants to P. langeana is being further studied (Consaul 2002–2006). Consaul (personal communication, March 2005) had compared the ITS sequences from P. langeana and P. tenella, based on limited herbarium material for the latter, and found these two have the same ITS sequences (different from other diploid species), which lends support to subspecies status. However, she noted that if P. langeana and P. tenella are subspecies then the question is, What is the name? The appropriateness of placing them under P. langeana is addressed in extensive discussion in Sorensen (1953). Tzvelev (1964) provides a counterdiscussion, supporting placing them under P. tenella in Flora of the Russian Arctic (Vol. 2). After an examination of the protologues and drawings, Consaul et al. (in press) use P. tenella subsp. langeana, following Tzvelev (1964).

Illustrations. • Habitat. Plant beside the white scale bar, lower centre, in an exposed rocky habitat just above the high tide line, 30 metres above the ocean. This species is found here and on the other side of the cliffs to the right. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Lower Savage Islands, 61°49.15'N, 65°42.62'W. 13 August, 1999. L.L. Consaul 2352, L.J. Gillespie and R.J. Soreng. CAN. • Habitat: Baffin Island, Ogac Lake. Plant growing between the markers close to the lake shoreline. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Ogac Lake. 13 July, 2004. Aiken and LeBlanc 04–091. CAN 586562. • Close-up of plant. Plant growing just above high tide line on east shore of Savage Island about 200 m from the ocean. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Lower Savage Islands, south of Savage Harbour, 61°49.15'N, 65°42.62'W. 13 August, 1999. L.L. Consaul 2352, L.J. Gillespie and R.J. Soreng. CAN. Scale bar is in cm. • Close-up of inflorescence. Note relatively small inflorescence composed of five spikelets and anthers 0.6 to 0.9 mm long. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Lower Savage Islands, 61°49.15'N, 65°42.62'W. 13 August, 1999. L.L. Consaul 2352, L.J. Gillespie and R.J. Soreng. CAN. • Close-up of inflorescence. (a) relatively short glume, (b) a mature small anther (0.6–0.9 mm long), (c) receptive stigmas exposed. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Ogac Lake. July, 2004. Aiken and LeBlanc. CAN. • Spikelet drawing. Lemma, 2–3 mm long, surface glabrous. From Sorensen (1952). Reproduced with permission from Meddeleser om Grønland. • Close-up of lemma apex. Lemma apex with a crenulate margin of rounded cells along the edge. As seen at 100X magnification. Nunavut, Southampton Island, Southampton. M.O. Malte 120655. CAN. • Close-up of glume apex. Second glume apex, margin erose and without trichomes. As seen at 100X magnification. Nunavut, Southampton Island, Southampton. M.O. Malte 120655. CAN. • Holotype, P. paupercula. Holotype of P. paupercula. Nunavut, Hudson Bay, Mansfield Island. 1915. Fernald and Weatherby. Type of Glyceria paupercula Holm. 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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