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

Castilleja septentrionalis Lindl.

English: Northern paint brush,

French: Castilléjie septrionale.

Scrophulariaceae, Fernweed family.

Published in Edwards. Bot. Reg. t. 925. 1825–1826.

Type: Described from a plant grown from turf collected in Labrador.

Synonymy. Castilleja pallida (L.) Spreng. var. septentrionalis (Lindl.) A. Gray, Bot. Calif. 1: 575. 1876.

Castilleja pallida (L.) Spreng. subsp. septentrionalis (Lindl.) Scoggan, Fl. Canada 52. 1978.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 30–50(–100) cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose, or not caespitose. Taproot present. Brown and fibrous. Ground level or underground stems horizontal; rhizomatous; elongate (rhizomes rarely preserved on herbarium specimens); 0.5–3 mm wide. Caudex absent. Aerial stems erect. Aerial stem trichomes present; spreading (if applicable). Leaves present; not heterophyllous; distributed along the stems; alternate; dying annually and non-persistent, or marcescent. Petioles absent. Leaf blades simple. Leaf blade bases attenuate, or truncate. Leaves not grass-like. Blades 2.5–6(–8) mm long, (1.2–)2.5–7(–10) mm wide, spreading or divaricate, linear or lanceolate, flat, veins parallel. Blade adaxial surface glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glabrous. Blade margins entire (minutely serrulate all around the blade seen at 10–40×); apices acuminate.

Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems circular or oval in cross section. Flowering stems with leaves. Flowering stems hairy. Flowering stems pubescent. Flowering stem hairs simple; longer than the diameter of the flowering stem; white or translucent; glandular hairs absent. Inflorescences spicate; lateral; dense (3–5 cm long, sometime interrupted at the base); linear; 2–5 cm long; 15–25 mm wide; elongating as the fruit matures. Pedicels absent. Flowers medium-sized; bilaterally symmetrical (zygomorphic). Sepals conventional; 4; fused; (8–)12–15(–20) mm wide; yellow, or white (pale cream, or tinged with purple); petaloid. Calyx tubular; 5-lobed (deeply divided into 2 lateral halves, each shallowly 2-lobed and with a central lobe); hairy. Calyx hairs pubescent (hispidulous); non-glandular; white or translucent. Petals conventional; fused; same length as the calyx (or only slightly longer); 5; white, or yellow (tinged with purple); with contrasting markings (tinges of purple); 14–20 mm long. Corolla bilabiate; 4-lobed (tube slender, elongate, scarcely dilated distally, the upper lip (helmet, or galea) triangular acuminate, laterally compressed; the lower lip (landing petal) much shorter than the upper). Stamens 4; stamen filaments all equal in length (pairs of stamens with different filament lengths); stamen filaments glabrous. Anthers yellow; ellipsoid; 1.5–2 mm long. Nectaries present. Ovary superior; carpels 2; syncarpous. Ovaries ovate; glabrous. Styles 1; 14–22 mm long; straight. Stigmas per ovary 1. Placentation axile. Ovules per ovary numerous. Fruit sessile; with calyx persisting; dry; a capsule; ovoid; yellowish, or brown; 7–12 mm long; 4–6 mm wide; glabrous; surface appearing veinless; dehiscent; opening at the apex and partially or fully down one side. Seeds numerous; 1.4–1.6 mm long; brown; surfaces reticulate (on the inflated, translucent testa).

Chromosome information. 2n = 24.

(2n) (2x) = 24. Löve and Löve (1966b, northeastern USA; 1982a, Arctic Canada); Löve and Solbrig (1964b, Arctic Canada); Mulligan, in Löve (1967c).

Ploidy levels recorded 2x.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: snow patches, river terraces, slopes, flood plains (and snowbeds further south); imperfectly drained moist areas, seepage slopes; gravel, sand, silt, moss (talus). Damp rocky soil, Gleason and Cronquist (1991).

North American distribution. Continental Northwest Territories (?), Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut (?), northern Quebec, Labrador.

Northern hemisphere distribution. North American (eastern or Hudsonian (Elven et al. 2003). Labrador – Hudson Bay.

General notes. Polunin (1940) noted that ‘taken in the broad sense this is an atrocious typus polymorphus; treated otherwise it becomes a whole series of supposed species and subspecies which at least to those, who like myself, are unable to understand them, appear to intergrade so freely as to be in most cases quite untenable as separate taxonomic units.’

Polunin (1940) was aware of one specimen collected on Baffin Island, from the north shore of Frobisher Bay, by Professor Samuel C. Palmer in 1929, Philadelphia 642379. It appears to be the first and only collection of the species in the Arctic Archipelago.

Illustrations. • Herbarium specimen with rhizome. Plant with a well-developed woody rhizome 33–35 mm in diameter and aerial stems 11–13 cm high, with simple, entire leaves. CAN 285325. • 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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