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

Pedicularis flammea L.

English: Red-tipped lousewort,

French: Pédiculaire flammée,

Inuktitut: Igutsait niqingit.

Scrophulariaceae, Fernweed family.

Published in Sp. Pl. 609. 1753.

Type: Described from northern Scandinavia ("Lapponiæ") and Switzerland ("Helvetiæ"), the latter based on literary sources and is obviously wrong (Elven et al. 2003).

Synonymy. Pedicularis flammea L. f. flavescens Polunin, Bull. Natl. Mus. Canada 94 (Biol. Ser. 24): 336. 1940.

Vegetative morphology. Plants (5–)8–15(–20) cm high; perennial herbs. Taproot present. Ground level or underground stems vertical. Caudex present. Aerial stems erect. Aerial stem trichomes present; spreading. Leaves heterophyllous (basal leaves, pinnately divided with relatively long divisions that have dentate margins; leaves associated with the inflorescences not divided, but with deeply dentate margins); mainly basal; alternate; dying annually and non-persistent. Petioles present (basal leaves), or absent (near the inflorescence); 10–45 mm long (the surface of longer petioles drying crinkled); not winged; glabrous, or hairy; puberulent. Petiole hairs shorter than the diameter of the petiole; spreading; curved. Leaf blades simple. Leaf blade bases truncate. Blades 10–40 mm long, 5–10(–13) mm wide, spreading, straight, lanceolate, flat, veins pinnate. Blade adaxial surface glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glabrous. Blades cut into linear divisions. Blade margins crenate or dentate, glabrous; apices acute, or rounded.

Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems solitary. Flowering stems circular or oval in cross section. Flowering stems with leaves. Flowering stems hairy. Flowering stems puberulent. Flowering stem hairs simple; shorter than the diameter of the flowering stem; white or translucent; glandular hairs absent. Inflorescences spicate (pedicels short at flowering), or racemose (most obvious at fruiting stage); terminal; diffuse; oblong; (1–)3–9 cm long; (15–)20–25(–30) mm wide; elongating as the fruit matures. Pedicels present, or absent (often inconspicuous; flowers borne in the axils of leaves similar to the basal leaves, but smaller). Flowers bilaterally symmetrical (zygomorphic). Sepals conventional; 5; fused; 6–8.5 mm wide; green (predominantly, sometimes reddish, sometimes with dark markings). Calyx tubular; 4-lobed; hairy. Petals conventional; fused; 5; red (brown on the top of the helmet petals), or yellow (vividly so on lower half of the helmet petals and the 3 landing petals); with contrasting markings (in the strikingly different colours of the helmet); 10–11 mm long (helmet petals). Corolla bilabiate; 2-lobed (helmet), or 3-lobed (lip or landing petal); helmet not prolonged into a long beak. Stamens 4; stamen filaments all equal in length (the 4 anthers lie together in the top of the helmet); stamen filaments glabrous; fused to the corolla. Anthers 1.4–1.6 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 2; syncarpous. Ovaries inverse turnip-shaped; glabrous. Styles 1; 14–16 mm long; straight. Stigmas per ovary 1. Placentation axile. Ovules per ovary few. Fruit stalked; with calyx persisting; dry; a capsule; ovoid, or broadly lanceolate (erect, asymmetrical); black (or dark brown on the adaxial side), or golden brown (on the abaxial side); 14–16 mm long; 3–4.5 mm wide; glabrous; dehiscent; opening at the apex and partially or fully down one side. Seeds few; 1.8–2.2 mm long; brown; surfaces smooth.

Chromosome information. 2n = 16.

(2n) (2x) = 16. Harmsen, in Löve and Löve (1948, Greenland?); Löve and Löve (1948, northern Europe; 1956, Iceland; 1982a, Arctic Canada); Sørensen and Westergaard, in Löve and Löve (1948, Greenland); Holmsen (1952, Greenland); Harmsen, in Jørgensen et al. (1958, Greenland); Jørgensen et al. (1958, Greenland); Knaben and Engelskjøn (1967, northern Norway, two counts); Hedberg (1967, northern Canada); Dalgaard (1988, western Greenland).

Ploidy levels recorded 2x.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: wet meadows, along streams, tundra, flood plains; imperfectly drained moist areas; gravel, sand, moss; with low organic content, peat; calcareous. Dry to dry-mesic slope of sandy ground and thin turf with Empetrum nigrum, Cassiope tetragona, Dryas integrifolia (CAN 549949); decomposed schist with numerous small erratics of granite and limestone (CAN 97491); dry Dryas tundra (CAN 393581); damp moss over moist rocks (CAN 468922). Polunin (1940) indicated that it is common in the extreme south of the Arctic Archipelago, but only rare to occasional north of 65°. It grows chiefly in damp meadows and marshes, where it is gregarious and may be quite abundant. Pedicularis flammea occurs in areas that are snow-covered in winter, but not in areas with long-lasting snow drifts. It is less common in drier habitats. Plants flower and fruit abundantly and very quickly.

North American distribution. Continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec, Labrador. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago limited. Uncommon. Arctic, alpine. Arctic islands: Baffin, Southampton (Coats, Digges, Prince Charles, Resolution).

Northern hemisphere distribution. Amphi-Atlantic. Northern Iceland, Northern Fennoscandian, Central Canada, Labrador – Hudson Bay, Ellesmere Land – Peary Land, West Greenland, East Greenland.

General notes. Polunin (1940) stated this well-marked and rather peculiar species, common almost throughout the most southern parts of our area, varies little except in size and luxuriance, the characteristic mature fruiting axes being anywhere from 6 to 20 cm high. The post-flowering growth of this species is particularly conspicuous, as the stem, in addition to increasing in length, also increases rather considerably in thickness.

Polunin (1940) named f. flavescens based on a single plant seen at Kimmirut in 1936. It had flowers with pale yellow corollas. The species is normally dark brown towards the base. Flowers do not have a scent.

Illustrations. • Underground plant. The base of the plants of this species has a long and strong branching taproot and a small caudex zone. The flowering stem is glabrous and purplish, basal leaves are pinnately divided with relatively long divisions that have dentate margins. Nunavut, Coats Island. J.M. Gillett 12719. CAN 393646. • Habitat: Iqaluit. Dense low artic tundra with Pedicularis flammea near the marker. Note the yellow flowers with purple tips on top of the helmet, and fern-like leaves at the base. Note the pale pink flowering heads of Pedicularis hirsuta. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit, near Upper Tundra Valley. 28 July, 2005. Aiken. No voucher. • Habitat: Baffin Island, Ogac Lake. Plants growing between the markers on a hillside overlooking Ogac Lake. Nunavut, Baffin Island. 9 July, 2004. Aiken and LeBlanc 04–034. CAN 586505. • Close-up of plant: Baffin Island, Ogac Lake. Bilabiate flowers with purple tips on the the top of the helmet petals and yellow landing petals. Note fern-like leaves at the base. Aiken and LeBlanc 04–034. CAN. • Close-up of inflorescence. Flowers have two-toned helmet petals with purplish red tips. These are rounded, not prolonged into a beak, and lack teeth. Flowers are borne on pedicels in the axils of leaves. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit. July 24, 1982. J.M. Gillett 19013. CAN. • Surface view of inflorescence. Inflorescence as seen from above with deep reddish purple on the helmet petals, bright yellow landing petals, and reddish purple sepals. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit. Aiken 02–001. CAN. • Side view of inflorescence. Note large, fused calyx that is mainly green but with some purple spots, spreading yellow landing petals and helmet petals that are deep purple at the apex and yellow towards the base. Aiken and LeBlanc 04–034. CAN. • Close-up of inflorescence in fruit. Developing fruits with detached fused petal tubes pushed up by the expanding ovary that is brownish purple. Note green calyx with brownish purple streaking. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Soper River Valley. Aiken 02–048. CAN. • Close-up of fruits. Even when dried the fruits retain the contrast in colours. Note calyx with deltoid teeth and purplish lines away from the veins. Nunavut, Kimmirut. M.O. Malte 119159. 25–26 August, 1927. CAN 97495. • 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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