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

Woodsia ilvensis (L.) R. Br.

English: Rusty cliff fern,

French: Woodsie d'Elbe,

Inuktitut: Uivva, uivvaujaq (Nunavik).

Woodsiaceae, Cliff-fern family.

Published in Prod. 158. 1810.

Type: Selected by Jonsell and Jarvis, Nordic J. Bot. 14: 149. 1994. Lectotype: LINN 1245.13.

Synonymy. Acrostichum ilvense L. Sp. Pl. 1071. 1753.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 5–15(–20) cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose (loosely clustered). Only fibrous roots present. Roots black. Ground level or underground stems horizontal; stoloniferous; compact. Aerial stems not developed, fern leaves with long petioles arising from a rhizome. Leaves present; arising singly from creeping rhizomes; alternate; dying annually and non-persistent, or marcescent. Petioles (10–)15–30(–50) mm long; hairy (usually brown or dark purple, articulate above the base at a swollen node, relatively brittle and easily shattered). Petiole hairs longer than the diameter of the petiole. Leaf blades compound. Blades 45–150(–200) mm long, 12–25(–35) mm wide, circinate when young (narrowly lanceolate fronds), with inconspicuous veins. Blade adaxial surface hairy (the blades narrowly lanceolate, usually two-pinnate towards the base, lacking glands), hairs long-silky. Blade abaxial surface hairy, hairs very dense (along the midrib, a mixture of multicellular hairs and linear-lanceolate scales). Blade margins slightly revolute, blades lobed. Blade margins crenate. Hydathodes present and conspicuous (as whitish enlarged slits near the tips of the veins), or present but inconspicuous. Blade apices obtuse. Leaflet arrangement pinnate (pinnae ovate-lanceolate to deltate, longer than wide, abruptly tapered to a rounded or broadly acute apex; pinnules entire or crenate, rarely shallowly lobed; margins thin with multicellular hairs).

Reproductive morphology. Sporangia in sori on the undersurface of the leaves. Indusia of narrow hair-like segments, one row of cells many times longer than wide, and longer than the sporangia.

Chromosome information. 2n = 78–82.

2n = 78.Britton (1953, Canada); Löve and Löve (1961c, Iceland), Löve (1976); Sorsa (1961, 1962, Finland); Cody and Mulligan (1982 Canada); Ma (1985); Ma and Wang (1986, China); Wagner (1987); Jonsell (2001b Sweden).

2n = 80–82. Taylor and Lang (1963, western Canada).

Ploidy levels recorded 2x.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: cliffs; dry, moderately well-drained areas; rocks, gravel.

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

Northern hemisphere distribution. Circumboreal. Northern Iceland, Northern Fennoscandian, Kanin–Pechora, Taimyr – Severnaya Zemlya, Anabar–Olenyok, Kharaulakh, Yana–Kolyma, West Chukotka, South Chukotka, East Chukotka, West Alaska, North Alaska – Yukon, Central Canada, Labrador – Hudson Bay, West Greenland, East Greenland.

General notes. Shade forms, and possibly high-latitude forms, of W. ilvensis, with reduced numbers of scales and hairs, are occasionally misidentified as W. alpina. The morphological distinctions between these species are further blurred, at least in the south, by natural hybridisation, which produces the intermediate triploid known as W. ×gracilis. Some of the best characters for distinguishing these taxa are spore size and morphology. Spores average less than 46 microns in diameter, in W. ilvensis, more than 46 microns in diameter, in W. alpina, and are malformed and abortive in the hybrid (F.S. Wagner 1987).

Illustrations. • Habitat Baffin Island. Plants near the marker and elsewhere among the rocks in talus at the base of a cliff slope. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Ogac Lake. July, 2004. Aiken and LeBlanc 04–051. CAN 586520. • Circinate frond. Young frond in foreground is tightly circinate, i.e., longitudinally rolled in bud. Blade lower surface hairs dense along the midrib, with a mixture of white multicellular hairs and brownish linear-lanceolate scales. Aiken and LeBlanc 04–051. CAN 586520. • Unrolling frond. Young frond unrolling. Blade lower surface hairs dense along the midrib, with a mixture of white multicellular hairs and brownish linear-lanceolate scales. Aiken and LeBlanc 04–051. CAN 586520. • 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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