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

Salix arctophila Cock. ex Heller

English: Northern willow,

French: Saule arctophile,

Inuktitut: Uqaijuit (Baffin Island); amaalinaaq, killapak (Nunavik).

Salicaceae, Willow family.

Published in Cat. N. Amer. Pl. ed. 3, 89. 1910.

Synonymy. Salix arctica Pall. γ (var.) groenlandica Andersson, in DC., Prodr. 16(2): 287. 1868 [Based on type (illustration) of Salix arctica Liebm. Fl. Dan. 14, fas. 42: 7. 1849, non Pallas]

Salix arctica Pall. γ (var.) groenlandica Andersson f. lejocarpa Andersson, DC., Prodr. 16(2): 287. 1868.

Salix arctica Liebm. Fl. Dan. 14, fas. 42: 7. 1849, non Pallas.

Salix arctophila Cock. ex Heller var. lejocarpa (Andersson) C. K. Schneider, Bot. Gaz. 67 : 57. 1919.

Salix groenlandica (Andersson) Lundstr., Nov. Act. Reg. Soc. Sci. Upsala III, p. 36. 1877, non Heer. The identity of Salix groenlandica Herr [Heer, O. 1868. Flora fossilis arctica. Die fossile flora der Polarländer. Zurich: von Frederich Schulthess. p. 101. ‘Salix groenlandica m. S. foliis ellipticis, integerrimis, paucinerviis Atanekerdluk, mit Pappelblättern’] cannot be established from the description.

Salix groenlandica var. lejocarpa (Andersson) Lange, Consp. Fl. Groenl. 1: 109. 1880.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 3–15 cm high; shrubs; dwarf shrubs (long trailing); forming colonies by layering. Aerial stems decumbent, or prostrate. Branches yellow-brown, or red-brown (greenish brown); not glaucous, or weakly glaucous; glabrous. Branchlets yellow-green, or yellow-brown, or red-brown; not glaucous, or weakly glaucous; glabrous; pilose (sparse). Buds arctica-type. Leaves present; distributed along the stems; alternate; dying annually and non-persistent, or marcescent. Stipules present; on first leaves rudimentary, or absent, or foliaceous; on leaves formed later in the season foliaceous, or rudimentary; deciduous in autumn; green, or colourless; apex acuminate, or acute. Petioles 3–15 mm long; deeply concave in cross section, or deeply concave in cross section, margins covering groove; glabrous. Juvenile leaves yellowish green; glabrous. Leaf blade bases obtuse, or cuneate, or rounded (slightly decurrent). Leaves not grass-like. Blades 15–31–60 mm long, length-width ratio 1.2–3–4.3, 6.5–16–35 mm wide, elliptic (broadly elliptic, to sub-circular) or obovate (to broadly obovate) or oblanceolate. Blade adaxial surface shiny or highly glossy, glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glaucous, glabrous. Blade margins slightly revolute. Blade margins entire and glandular-dotted or serrulate (usually sparsely toothed proximally), with teeth all around the blade or toward the base, with teeth per cm 1–8 (5); apices acute, or obtuse, or rounded (rarely).

Reproductive morphology. Plants dioecious. Inflorescences catkins. Pedicels absent. Catkins flowering as leaves emerge. Male catkins 17–45 mm long; 7–16 mm wide; stout, or sub-globose; peduncles 2–6 mm long; borne on a flowering branchlet; flowering branchlets 4–15 mm long. Female catkins 16–69 mm long; 10–20 mm wide; slender, or stout; peduncles 4–24 mm long; borne on a flowering branchlet; flowering branchlets 8–57 mm long. Floral bracts light rose, or brown, or black, or bicolour (purplish red); 0.8–2.4 mm long; hairy all over; hairs moderately dense, or very dense; hairs straight; apices rounded, or acute; apices entire. Flowers unisexual. Sepals absent. Petals absent. Stamens 2; stamen filaments glabrous, or hairy on lower half. Anthers purple becoming yellow; ellipsoid, or long-cylindrical; 0.5–0.7 mm long. Male flowers abaxial nectaries absent. Male flowers adaxial nectaries oblong, or square, or narrowly oblong, or ovate; 0.4–1 mm long. Female flowers abaxial nectaries absent. Female flowers adaxial nectaries oblong, or narrowly oblong, or square, or ovate; 0.5–0.9 mm long; shorter than stipes. Ovary carpels 2. Stipes 0.8–1.4 mm long. Ovaries pear-shaped, or inverse club-shaped; gradually tapering to style; hairy; pubescent, or short-silky (dusty appearance). Ovary hairs sparse, or moderately dense; white and rust-coloured (or gray); appressed; wavy, or crinkled; ribbon-like. Styles 0.6–1.4 mm long. Stigma lobes 0.24–0.47–0.72 mm long. Ovules per ovary 8–16. Fruit a capsule; 5–9 mm long; hairy.

Chromosome information. 2n = 76.

2n (4x) = 76. Jørgensen et al. (1958, Greenland, 2n = c.76); Löve and Löve, in Löve (1982a, Churchill, Man.).

Ploidy levels recorded 4x.

Ecology and habitat. A prostrate shrub, often with long, trailing stems. Often on hummocks, in wet, mossy, grass or sedge tundra meadows. Common along the edges of streams or ponds, among granitic boulders, on alluvial plains, or sometimes in snowbeds.

North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec, Labrador. Arctic islands: Baffin, Southampton.

Northern hemisphere distribution. North American. North Alaska – Yukon, Central Canada, Labrador – Hudson Bay, Ellesmere Land – Peary Land, West Greenland.

General notes. Hybrids

Salix arctica × S. arctophila (S. ×hudsonensis C. K. Schneider) (Argus 2007, Polunin 1940). There are a number of putative hybrids in the Canadian Museum of Nature collection from Baffin and Ellesmere islands. These plants have leaves and branchlets that are almost glabrous as in S. arctophila, but bearing only a few long hairs. In addition, the ovaries have flattened, refractive hairs as in S. arctica, not ribbon-like hairs as in S. arctophila. A specimen from Bylot Island reported to be intermediate between S. arctica and S. arctophila (Drury 1962: 88–89) is S. arctica. Representative specimens: Soper, J.D. 122106, Baffin Island, Panguirtung Fjord. 26 July 1924. CAN 46583; Wynne-Edwards, V.C. Baffin Island, Head of Clyde Inlet. 11 July 1950. CAN 283881; Polunin, N. 2376. Baffin Island, Cape Dorset. 15 June 1924. CAN 46516; Soper, J.D. 132178. Baffin Island, Head of Kinga Fjord. 31 July 1924. CAN 46520; Malte, M.O. s.n. Ellesmere Island, Craig Harbour. 2 Aug. 1927. CAN 46377; Malte, M.O. 118599. Ellesmere Island, Dundas Harbour. 27 July 1927. CAN 46381.

Salix arctophila × S. uva-ursi (Polunin 1940). There are four specimens in the Canadian Museum of Nature collection that appear to be this hybrid. Specimens: M. O. Malte 118635, Baffin Island, Kimmirut (Lake Harbour), 25–26 Aug 1927, CAN 46276 (undeveloped ovaries with patchy hairiness); Soper, J.D. 132144, Hekerton Islands, Cumberland Gulf. 29 July 1924, CAN 46176; A. P. Low 23039, Ungava, Erick Cove, 1 Aug. 1898, CAN; M. P. Porsild s.n. West Greenland, Fiskefjord, 29 July 1941. CAN. Some of these plants have the leaves of S. uva-ursi and the capsules of S. arctophila, but others simply look like depauperate specimens of S. arctophila. Skvortsov (1971) discounts this hybrid but notes that a few specimens are somewhat doubtful.

Salix arctophila × S. glauca. This hybrid is reported to be common in East Greenland but absent from West Greenland (Böcher 1952). It is not known to occur in Canada.

Illustrations. • Habitat on rock face. Dominant plant growing over crumbling rock face. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Ogac Lake, north side of inner basin. 10 July, 2004. Aiken and LeBlanc 04–044a. • Plant in mossy tundra. Plant growing between the markers and in the adjacent tundra. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Ogac Lake, north side of inner basin. 10 July, 2004. Aiken and LeBlanc 04–044. • Close-up of male catkins. Left, male catkin with uppermost anthers approaching anthesis on the left-hand side of the catkin, spent anthers on the right-hand side of the catkin, presumably facing the sun and ripening first. Aiken and LeBlanc 04–044. CAN. • Close-up of male cone. Male catkin with widely spaced florets at the base, each with two anthers per floral scale. Aiken and LeBlanc 04–044. CAN. • Habit. Plant growing with S. reticulata in lichen tundra. Some capsules have opened releasing seeds that are surrounded by hairs (fluff). Quebec, Richmond Gulf. 19 July, 1983. Photographed by George Argus. • Habit. A prostrate shrub often with long trailing stems. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit. 30 August, 1997. Aiken and Cheryl McJannet 97017. CAN. Scale bar in cm. • Female flowering plants. Female flowering plants with shiny and glabrous leaves and reddish ovaries. Quebec, Richmond Gulf. 17 July, 1983. Photographed by George Argus. • Close-up of female catkin. Female catkin borne on a flowering branchlet. Ovaries covered with a pubescence of sparse, or moderately dense, short-silky hairs giving the surface a dusty look. Aiken and LeBlanc 04–044. CAN. • Close-up of female catkin. Female catkins showing glabrous, glossy, elliptic leaves. Ovaries are often reddish and may appear to be glabrous. Quebec, Richmond Gulf. 19 July, 1983. Photographed by George Argus. • Close-up of leaves. Note the glabrous leaf surface. The lower leaf surface is glaucous with white wax. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit. 30 August, 1997. Aiken and Cheryl McJannet 97017. 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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