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

Saxifraga eschscholtzii Sternb.

English: Eschscholtz's saxifrage.

Saxifragaceae, Saxifrage family.

Published in Revis. Saxifrag., Suppl. 1: 9. 1822.

Type: Russian Far East: Chukchi Peninsula, St. Lawrence Bay, leg. Chamisso and Eschscholtz. Syntypes: LE.

Synonymy. Saxifraga fimbriata D.Don, Trans. Linn. Soc. London 13: 404. 1822.

Leptasea fimbriata (D.Don) Small, N. Amer. Fl. 22, 2: 154. 1905.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 1–5 cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose, or not caespitose. Ground level or underground stems absent (or very short in cushion plans), or horizontal (in trailing plants); rhizomatous; elongate. Horizontal stems at ground level, branching extensively to shape plant habit as mats, or cushions (lichen-like). Caudex absent. Aerial stems erect, or decumbent (numerous, densely compacted); not filiform. Leaves present; not heterophyllous; mainly basal, or distributed along the stems (in trailing plants); alternate (overlapping densely); marcescent (turning pale brown or grey). Petioles absent. Leaf blades simple. Leaf blade bases truncate, or hastate (trailing stems). Leaves not grass-like. Blades 2–4 mm long, 1–1.5(–2) mm wide, obovate or spatulate, flat, with inconspicuous veins. Blade adaxial surface glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glabrous. Blades not lobed. Blade margins serrate, with non-glandular hairs (stiff hyaline trichomes, some approaching 1 mm long). Hydathodes absent (in contrast to S. oppositifolia. Caution: dead leaves may turn white and superficially resemble lime deposits). Blade apices obtuse, or rounded.

Reproductive morphology. Plants monoecious, or bisexual. Flowering stems two or more per plant; without leaves. Flowers solitary. Flowers small (female flowers with large purplish carpels and stamens with small anthers; male flowers with abortive carpels and large yellow anthers). Sepals conventional; 5; free; 0.5–1 mm long; 1–1.4 mm wide; purple; scarious. Calyx hairy. Calyx hairs non-glandular; white or translucent. Calyx margins ciliate (relatively long trichomes, similar to the leaf margins). Petals conventional; free; same length as the calyx; 5; yellow, or pink (drying pale brown); elliptic (narrowly), or spatulate; unlobed; 1.5–2.5 mm long; 0.4–0.6 mm wide. Stamens 10; stamen filaments glabrous. Anthers yellow; sub-globose; 0.3–0.5 mm long. Nectaries present. Receptacle 0.1–0.2 mm high. Ovary superior; carpels 2; partly fused (for more than half their length). Ovaries glabrous. Placentation axile. Ovules per ovary 10–50. Fruit with calyx persisting (becoming reflexed); dry; a capsule; ovoid (with divergent styles); purple; (2.5–)2.8–3.2 mm long; 1.5–1.8 mm wide; dehiscent; splitting to the base into separate segments. Seeds 10–25; 0.6–1 mm long; brown; surfaces smooth (with fine markings seen at 40×).

Chromosome information. 2n = 12.

(2n) = 12. Zhukova (1967, northeastern Asia); Johnson and Packer (1968, northwestern Alaska); Zhukova and Petrovsky (1987a; northeastern Asia).

Ploidy levels recorded 2x.

Taxon as an environmental indicator. The northernmost record, and first collection for the Arctic Archipelago, is N.W.T., Prince Patrick Island, Greene Bay, 76°54'N, 119°30'W, 7 July 1968, M. Kuc s.n. (Canada).

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: rocks (particularly gravel, in crevices, and on rocky ledges); calcareous.

North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories Islands. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago limited. Rare. Alpine (species ranging eastwards along the Brooks Range). In Canada, known from the North Yukon, from sea level to slopes of the Buckland Hills and British Mountains, and a single record from Prince Patrick Island (Porsild and Cody 1980). Arctic islands: Parry islands (Prince Patrick Island).

Northern hemisphere distribution. Amphi-Beringian. West Chukotka, South Chukotka, East Chukotka, West Alaska, North Alaska – Yukon, Central Canada.

General notes. Elven et al. (2003) noted that this species is superficially similar to S. oppositifolia, but differs in its grey-green foliage and alternate leaves. It was first collected on the Arctic Archipelago in 1968. It is possibly under-collected, as it resembles lichens when not flowering. "It is an Amphi-Beringian mainly arctic species, closely related to S. hemisphaerica Hooker f. and Thoms., distributed in the Himalayas high mountains" (Zhmylev, in Elven et al. (2003).

Illustrations. • Close-up of vegetative plants. Dense cluster of grey-green plants. Alaska, Alaska Range, Kantishna, Elodrado Creek. July, 1998. Photograph by R. Elven. • Close-up of fruiting plants. Cluster with plant that has grey-green leaves and dehisced brown capsules. Alaska, Alaska Range, Mountain Healy. July, 1998. Voucher at 0. Photograph by R. Elven. • Herbarium specimen. Tiny flowers at the edge of a leafy tuff. Alaska, Healy Quad, Sugarloaf Mountain. CAN 464753. • 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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