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

Pyrola grandiflora Radius

English: Large-flowered wintergreen, arctic pyrole,

French: Pyrole à grandes fleurs,

Inuktitut: Igutsait niqingit.

Pyrolaceae, Wintergreen family.

Published in Pyrola and Chimaphila 27. 1821

Type: Described from eastern Canada: Labrador.

Synonymy. Pyrola rotundifolia L. var. grandiflora (Radius) Fernald ex A.P. Khokhr., Sosud. Rast. Sovet. Dal'nego Vostoka 5: 162. 1991.

Vegetative morphology. Plants (3–)5–20(–25) cm high; herbs; perennial herbs. Taproot present. Ground level or underground stems vertical. Caudex present. Aerial stems erect (strictly, these are flowering stems). Leaves mainly basal; alternate; persistent. Stipules absent (bud scales, 5–9(-15) mm long and 2–5 mm wide at the base of the leaves may look stipule-like). Petioles present (basal leaves), or absent (bract leaves on the flowering stems); 5–25(–65) mm long; not winged; flat; glabrous. Leaf blades simple. Leaf blade bases obtuse, or rounded. Blades 10–30 mm long, 8–30 mm wide, spreading, ovate or obovate, flat, veins pinnate. Blade adaxial surface shiny, glabrous. Blade abaxial surface dull, glabrous. Blade margins flat (narrowly rolled). Blade margins entire, glabrous; apices rounded.

Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems solitary; with leaves (bract leaves without petioles). Inflorescences racemose; diffuse; oblong (when mature); 1.5–7.5 cm long; 10–30 mm wide. Pedicels present (short); glabrous. Bract leaves 4–8 mm long; 1.5–3 mm wide (P. grandiflora). Flowers per inflorescence (3–)5–10(–15); medium-sized. Sepals conventional; 5; free; 1–1.5 mm long; 2–3 mm wide; pink. Calyx glabrous. Petals conventional; free (perfumed); 5; white (creamy), or pink; oblanceolate; unlobed; 4–6.5 mm long; 3.5–5(–5.5) mm wide. Stamens 10; stamen filaments glabrous; free of the corolla. Anthers yellow. Anthers opening with a terminal pore. Anthers 1.5–2.2 mm long (opening by apical pores). Nectaries present. Ovary superior; carpels 5; syncarpous. Ovaries sub-globose; glabrous. Styles 1; 3–7 mm long (deflexed and protruding from flowers and conspicuous in fruits); straight; basal portion smooth. Stigmas per ovary 1. Placentation parietal (the intruded parietal placentas not joined at the centre). Ovules per ovary numerous and tiny. Fruit stalked; with calyx persisting; dry; a capsule; spherical; red (when young), or black, or brown (when mature); 3–6 mm long; 3–6 mm wide; glabrous; surface appearing veinless (but with a ridge down the centre of each carpel); dehiscent; splitting to the base into separate segments. Seeds 0.5–0.7 mm long (testa only one cell thick; embryo tiny, undifferentiated, embedded in the endosperm); yellowish; surfaces smooth.

Chromosome information. 2n = 46.

2n (2x) = 46. Hagerup (1928, 1941a); Knaben (1950); Löve (1954b, Iceland?); Löve and Löve (1956, Iceland, 1982a, central Canada); Harmsen, in Jørgensen et al. (1958, Greenland); Böcher (1961b, Greenland); Löve and Ritchie (1966, central Canada); Hedberg (1967, northern Canada); Johnson and Packer (1968, northwestern Alaska); Knaben and Engelskjøn (1968); Zhukova and Petrovsky (1971, Wrangel Island; 1976, western Chukotka); Packer and McPherson (1974, northern Alaska); Zhukova et al. (1977, northeastern Asia); Zhukova (1980, southern Chukota; 1982, northeastern Asia); Dalgaard (1989, western Greenland).

Ploidy levels recorded 2x.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: slopes, ridges, dry meadows; imperfectly drained moist areas, dry; rocks, sand, clay; with high organic content; acidic, or circum-neutral. Common in crevices in bedrock outcrop through tundra heath (CAN 549899); Growing in moist deep heath on the crest of a washed moraine (CAN 517708); heaths and stony places, abundant to 600 feet, at Clyde Inlet, Baffin Island (CAN 204936); growing on a hummock in a wet meadow (CAN 517956); flat, poorly drained, hummocky tundra; calcareous, CAN 368161); beneath snow bank (CAN 312088); on gravelly talus at base of southfacing exposure (CAN 556128); (this is possibly the northernmost record at 80.47'N; depauperate specimen from the base of a seepage slope in a moss mat (CAN 484957); growing with Vaccinium uliginosum, Betula glandulosa, Salix alaxensis on humus in shrubby tundra.

North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories Islands, continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec, Labrador. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago widespread, or limited (Low Arctic). Uncommon. Arctic. Arctic islands: Baffin (common on sheltered and sunny slopes), Devon, Ellesmere, Banks, Parry islands (Melville), Victoria, Southampton, Coats.

Northern hemisphere distribution. Circumpolar (with a gap in North Atlanic area). Northern Iceland, Kanin–Pechora, Polar Ural – Novaya Zemlya, Yamal–Gydan, Taimyr – Severnaya Zemlya, Anabar–Olenyok, Kharaulakh, Yana–Kolyma, West Chukotka, Wrangel Island, South Chukotka, East Chukotka, West Alaska, North Alaska – Yukon, Central Canada, Labrador – Hudson Bay, Ellesmere Land – Peary Land, West Greenland, East Greenland.

General notes. Haber (personal communication, 2000) noted that Skvortsov (1980, 1981) had a broad concept of P. rotundifolia, and considered this taxon to be the subspecies P. rotundifolia subsp. grandiflora. Elven et al. (2003) remarked that the various subspecies are easily recognisable and they follow a narrower concept recognizing this entity as P. grandiflora, which we are following here. They also note that a critical revision is needed of the P. rotundifolia aggregate on a circumpolar basis.

Illustrations. • Habitat. Plants growing on dry grassy slope with sedges, reticulate willow, bistort, and some heather. Nunavut, Rankin Inlet. Aiken and Brysting 2001. CAN. • Habitat: Dorset. Plants growing in dry tundra with Astragalus alpinus and Oxytropis maydelliana. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Cape Dorset. 3 August, 2005. Aiken. No voucher. • Close-up of plant habitat: Dorset. Plants growing in dry tundra with Astragalus alpinus and Oxytropis maydelliana. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Cape Dorset. 3 August, 2005. Aiken. No voucher. • Habitat. Plants growing under willows. N.W.T., Tuktoyaktuk. 20 July, 1981. J.M. Gillett 18690. CAN. • Seasonal leaf colour changes. Colour forms in the leathery leaves that have overwintered and are turning green the following spring. 2003. Photograph by Carolyn Mallory. No voucher. • Leaves in summer. Oblong and ovate leaves at the base of a plant. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit. 24 July, 2005. Photograph Kathy Thornhill. • Close-up of plant. Plant growing among heather. N.W.T., Tuktoyaktuk. 20 July, 1981. J.M. Gillett 18690. CAN. • Close-up of inflorescence. Inflorescence of almost sessile flowers, with pinkish sepals (top bud), large white petals, twice as many anthers as petals, and extended pink styles. N.W.T., Tuktoyaktuk. 20 July, 1981. J.M. Gillett 18690. CAN. • Developing fruit. Inflorescence with developing fruit, pale pink calyx of free sepals, and swollen reddish fruit capsules. N.W.T., Tuktoyaktuk. Aiken and Brysting 10–117. 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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