Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago
Cyperaceae, Sedge family.
Published in Acta Univ. Lund. 2. 38, no. 1: 365. 1942.
Type: Described from Greenland, type of Carex oligocarpa Hornem. (1837), non Willd. (1805), nec Muehlenb. (1817). Holotype: C.
Synonymy. Carex spaniocarpa Steud., Syn. Cyper. 225. 1855.
Carex. supina Willd. ex Wahlenb. var. spaniocarpa (Steud.) B. Boivin, Natural. Can. 94: 523. 1967.
Vegetative morphology. Plants (3–)8–15(–30) cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose; loosely tufted in several tufts. Only fibrous roots present. Roots pallid-brown. Ground level or underground stems horizontal; stoloniferous (stolons brown and slender); elongate. Ground level or underground stems scales present (striate, sometimes reddish brown). Aerial stems erect; filiform (0.4–0.5 mm in diameter). Leaves mainly basal; alternate; marcescent. Petioles absent. Sheaths present; breaking down into fibres; not forming a conspicuous build-up at the base of the plant; brown, or reddish orange (purplish); sheath collars absent. Ligules present (less than 1 mm long). Leaf blades simple. Leaves grass-like. Blades 30–100(–150) mm long, 0.5–1.5 mm wide. Leaves filiform or not filiform. Blades straight (crowded) or somewhat curled (dead leaves), linear, flat (or loosely folded), veins parallel. Blade adaxial surface glabrous or scabrous (most clearly seen at the tips of the leaves). Blade margins scabrous (young leaves and towards the leaf apices).
Reproductive morphology. Plants monoecious. Flowering stems two or more per plant. Flowering stems triangular in cross section (sharply so). Flowering stems about as high as the leaves, or conspicuously taller than the leaves; with leaves. Leaf or reduced bract subtending the base of the inflorescence present; reduced, or scale-like; shorter than the apex of the inflorescence; 5–20 mm long; persistent; with sheath shorter than the blade. Inflorescences a spike of spikes; oblong (pistillate 15 × 5 mm), or ovate (staminate 1–1.5 mm); (0.5–)1–2 cm long; 5–10 mm wide. Cladoprophylls present. Inflorescence multispicate. Inflorescence 2–3 spikes (pistillate inflorescence 13–15 mm long × 4–5 mm wide). Individual spike(s) ascending. Terminal spike completely staminate (linear, 5–15 mm long × 1–2 mm wide; staminate scales light brown, margins hyaline, oblong-lanceolate 3–4.5 mm long, 1–1.8 mm wide). Floral scales as long as the perigynium in fruit; brown (pistillate scales red-brown; staminate scales light brown); with margins and sometimes midvein paler in colour than the adjacent area of the scale (broad and translucent); ovate (broadly); 2.5–3 mm long; 1.3–1.6 mm wide; glabrous. Flowers unisexual. Staminate flowers conspicuous. Perianth represented by a perigynium. Stamens present (staminate flowers), or absent (pistillate flowers); 3. Anthers 2.2–2.5 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 3; syncarpous. Perigynia sessile. Styles 3; partially fused; slender, not extending beyond the beak. Stigmas per ovary 3. Placentation basal. Ovules per ovary 1. Fruit surrounded by a perigynium. Perigynia fused to the apex except for a small aperture through which the style protrudes; broadly ovate; 2.5–3(–3.3) mm long; 1.3–1.6(–2) mm wide; erect or ascending (divergent); straw-coloured, or brown (often yellow-green towards the base); membranous; surface glossy (slightly); glabrous (or slightly scaberulous near the apex seen at 40×); faintly veined; with 2 keels (slight); apices beaked with a long beak. Fruit sessile; dry; an achene; obovate; indehiscent. Achenes lenticular; filling the perigynia. Seeds 1; 1.3–1.7 mm long (1.3–1.4 mm wide).
Chromosome information. 2n = 36, 38, 44, 50, and 58.
2n = 36. Jørgensen et al. (1958, Greenland); Zhukova (1980, southern Chukotka);
2n = 38. Löve and Löve, in Löve (1975a);
2n = 44. Zhukova (1969, northeastern Asia);
2n = 50. Zhukova and Petrovsky (1975, western Chukotka);
2n = 58. Löve (1981d, central Canada).
Ecology and habitat. Substrates: ridges, cliffs (outcrops and ledges); dry; rocks (often granite), gravel, sand; with low organic content. Found in dry, non-calcareous places with Carex nardina, C. rupestris, C. scirpoidea, and Kobresia myosuroides.
North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories Islands, continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago limited. Rare (Low Arctic). Low Arctic. Arctic islands: Baffin (Kimmirut (Lake Harbour), Iqaluit, Clyde Inlet, and Pond Inlet), Banks (literature record), Southampton (literature record).
Northern hemisphere distribution. Circumpolar, or circumboreal (disjunctly arctic-alpine, replaced by the non-arctic subsp. supina in Europe). YamalGydan, Taimyr Severnaya Zemlya, AnabarOlenyok, YanaKolyma, West Chukotka, Wrangel Island, East Chukotka, North Alaska Yukon, Central Canada, Labrador Hudson Bay, Ellesmere Land Peary Land, West Greenland, East Greenland.
General notes. Polunin (1940) suggested that this little sedge is widespread but rarely collected.
Ball and Murray (2002) place this species in sect. Lamprochlaenae. They noted that Mackenzie (1931–1935, pp. 221) placed C. supina in sect. Obtusatae, but other authors have not associated this species with unispicate species. Recently, sect. Lamprochlaenae has been recognised, although circumscription of this section has varied. The circumscription followed in Flora of North America is that proposed by Egorova (1999).
Illustrations. • Herbarium specimen. Tufted plant with multispicate inflorescence. Note long rhizome. Nunavut, Baffin Island, head of Clyde River. 3 July, 1950. Wynne-Edwards 8905. CAN 204819. • Close-up of inflorescences. Multispicate inflorescences with completely staminate terminal spike. Pistillate spikes with 3 stigmas per flower. Floral scales red-brown. Nunavut, Baffin Island, head of Clyde River. 3 July, 1950. Wynne-Edwards 8905. CAN 204819. • Close-up of inflorescence at anthesis. Multispicate inflorescence with staminate terminal spikelet. Pistillate spikelets with 3 stigmas per flower. Floral scales red-brown. Nunavut, Baffin Island, head of Clyde River. 3 July, 1950. Wynne-Edwards 8905. CAN 204819. • 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..