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

Diphasiastrum alpinum (L.) Holub

English: Alpine club-moss,

French: Lycopode alpin.

Lycopodiaceae, Club moss family.

Published in Preslia, 47: 107. 1975.

Type: Linnaean Herbarium, selected by Wilce, Beih. Nova Hedwigia, 19: 32 (as "1275.19"). 1965. Lectotype: 1257.19. LINN.

Synonymy. Lycopodium alpinum L. Sp. Pl. 1104. 1753.

Diphasium alpinum (L.) Rothm., Feddes Repert. 54: 65. 1944.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 5–10(–14) cm high; perennial herbs; not caespitose; never vegetatively proliferating by bulbils on stems or leaves, in inflorescences, from gemmiphores and gemmae, or by fragmentation. Only fibrous roots present. Roots pallid-brown. Ground level or underground stems horizontal (usually); rhizomatous (usually shallowly buried), or stoloniferous; elongate (usually, up to 2 m long); 0.5–3 mm wide (with conspicuous spatulate appressed leaves). Ground level or underground stems scales absent. Aerial stems erect (clustered and branching successively 3–5 times; branchlets rectangular in cross section, 1.5–3 mm longest dimension; annual bud constrictions abrupt and conspicuous); not conspicuously jointed. Aerial stem ridges 4. Leaves present; distributed along the stems, or arising singly from creeping rhizomes; alternate; not distinctly distichous (but in 4 ranks); persistent (softer than the bristly leaves of Lycopodium annotinum). Petioles absent. Ligules absent. Leaf blades simple. Leaf blade bases cuneate. Leaves not grass-like. Blades (1.7–)2.5–3.5 mm long (free portion; total length 3–5.8 mm including basal portion fused to the stem; leaves of the ultimate branches strictly four-ranked, alternate ecussate, with every pair decurrent on the stem as a pair of flanges and each flange continuous with one margin of the leaf), 1–1.5(–2.4) mm wide, appressed to the stem (upright shoots) or spreading (horizontal stems). Leaf appearance in Lycopodium appressed leaves with ultimate branches strictly four ranked, alternate decussate, with every pair decurrent on the stem as a pair of flanges and each flange continuous with one margin of the leaf. Blades straight (stems may appear to be like braided rope with the overlapping leaves), linear or ovate (unique in the genus because the leaf bases are contracted), involute, with inconspicuous veins. Blade adaxial surface glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glabrous. Blade margins glabrous; apices acute.

Reproductive morphology. Plants with sporangia. Sporangia in terminal cone-like structures. Aerial stems squarish in cross-section.

Chromosome information. 2n = 44–50.

2n = 44–48 Löve and Löve (1961a); Wilce, in Löve and Löve (1961a); Sorsa (1963a, Finland); Löve (1970a, Iceland);

Wagner Jr. and Beitel (1993, Fl. N. Amer. 2, secondary reference); Jonsell (2001b, Sweden); Hämet-Ahti et al. (1984 Finland, secondary reference).

2n = 48–50. Manton (1950, central Europe).

Ploidy levels recorded 2x.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: slopes; imperfectly drained moist areas, moderately well-drained areas (snowbeds and southfacing slopes).

North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, northern Quebec, Labrador. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago limited. Rare. Low Arctic. Arctic islands: Baffin.

Northern hemisphere distribution. Circumpolar, or circumboreal. Northern Iceland, Northern Fennoscandian, Kanin–Pechora, Polar Ural – Novaya Zemlya, Yamal–Gydan, Taimyr – Severnaya Zemlya, South Chukotka, East Chukotka, West Alaska, North Alaska – Yukon, Labrador – Hudson Bay, West Greenland, East Greenland.

Illustrations. • Habitat. Plants growing in a frost boil habitat with lichen and sparse willow. Greenland, Godhavvn (Blaesdalen). Mildred and Raymond D. Wood. CMN Photo Library S78–454. • Drawing of the plant. Portion of a plant showing the long-trailing, horizontal stems and the clusters of branches. Left, the tips of the group of leafy branches with developing cones. Right, the growing tip of the horizontal stem. CMN Photo Library S74–905. • Leaf morphology. Contrasting leaf morphology in the three Arctic species in the Lycopodiaceae. A. Diphasiastrum alpinum. Appressed leaves with ultimate branches strictly four ranked, alternate decussate, with every pair decurrent on the stem as a pair of flanges and each flange continuous with one margin of the leaf. B. Lycopodium annotinum, leaves spreading and crowded in pseudo-whorls. C. Huperzia selago, left a vegetative leaf; right a sporophyll leaf. • 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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