Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago
English: Bog asphodel, small tofieldia,
French: Tofieldie naine.
Tofieldiaceae, Tofieldia family.
Published in Syn. Pl. 1: 399. 1805.
Synonymy. Narthecium pusillum Michx., Fl. Bor. Amer. 1: 209. 1803.
Vegetative morphology. Plants 5–15(–20) cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose. Only fibrous roots present. Roots pallid-brown. Ground level or underground stems horizontal, or absent (rhizomes sometimes present, rarely collected: present on CAN 541779). Ground level or underground stems scales absent. Aerial stems erect. Leaves mainly basal; alternate; dying annually and non-persistent. Petioles absent. Sheaths absent. Leaves grass-like. Blades 10–50(–70) mm long, 1–3 mm wide, spreading, straight, linear, veins parallel. Blade adaxial surface glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glabrous. Blade margins glabrous; apices acuminate, or acute.
Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems circular or oval in cross section. Flowering stems with leaves (reduced and inconspicuous), or without leaves. Inflorescences head-like (sometimes with whorls of flowers in a short cylinder, a specialised structure the "calyculus"); dense; oblong, or globose or sub-globose; 0.5–1.5 cm long; 5–6 mm wide. Pedicels absent (subtended by tiny bracts about 1 mm long, on short pedicels). Involucral bracts on pedicels with bract leaves (short pedicels, tiny bracts less than 0.5 mm long, a specialised structure the "calyculus"). Flowers per inflorescence 4–12; small. Sepals conventional (white petaloid tepals); 3; free; 2–3 mm wide; green, or yellow (pale); petaloid. Calyx glabrous. Petals conventional; free; same length as the calyx; 3; green, or white, or yellow (cream); obovate; unlobed; 2–3 mm long. Stamens 6. Anthers yellow; sub-globose; 0.3–0.4 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 3; partly fused (incompletely fused at the apex). Ovaries glabrous. Styles absent (or very short each with a stubby stigma). Ovules per ovary 15–30. Fruit with calyx persisting; dry; a capsule; ovoid, or obovate; brown; 1–2 mm long; 1–1.8 mm wide; dehiscent. Seeds 6–18 (rare); 0.5–0.6 mm long; brown; surfaces smooth.
Chromosome information. 2n = 28–30. Löve and Löve (1956, Iceland); Löve (1981d, northern Canada); Jørgensen et al. (1958, Greenland); Sokolovskaya and Strelkova (1960); Sorsa (1963b, Finland, 2n = 28); Löve and Ritchie (1966, northern Canada); Taylor and Brockman (1966, western Canada); Hedberg (1967, northern Canada); Zhukova (1967a, northeastern Asia); Johnson and Packer (1968, northwestern Alaska); Laane (1969b, Norway); Packer and McPherson (1974, northern Alaska); Krogulevich (1976, northern Siberia); Yurtsev and Zhukova (1978, eastern Chukotka); Engelskjøn (1979, southern Norway); Löve (1981d); Dalgaard (1989, western Greenland). Several more southern counts.
Ploidy levels recorded 2x.
Indigenous knowledge. In Inuktitut, these plants are described as 'Nunarkuluit katingauqtut qaulluqtait' meaning "little cluster of flowers that are white or creamy" (Mallory and Aiken 2004).
Ecology and habitat. Substrates: hummocks (in frost boil meadows), around the margins of ponds, river terraces; imperfectly drained moist areas; gravel, silt, till; acidic (on granite), or calcareous. Often reported with Dryas. Locally common in coastal lowlands, turfy areas in the tundra and by brooks growing in wet moss.
North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories Islands, continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec, Labrador. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago moderate. Uncommon. Low Arctic. Arctic islands: Baffin, Victoria, Southampton.
Northern hemisphere distribution. Circumpolar, or circumboreal. Northern Iceland, Northern Fennoscandian, KaninPechora, Svalbard Franz Joseph Land, Polar Ural Novaya Zemlya, YamalGydan, Taimyr Severnaya Zemlya, AnabarOlenyok, Kharaulakh, YanaKolyma, West Chukotka, South Chukotka, West Alaska, North Alaska Yukon, Central Canada, Labrador Hudson Bay, West Greenland, East Greenland.
General notes. The reasons why this species is placed in the family Tofieldiaceae is documented in the notes associated with the family.
Illustrations. • Habitat. Plants growing in dry sedge meadow on hillside behind town. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit. 23 August, 1997. Aiken 97–004. CAN. • Close-up of plant. Plants growing on disturbed gravel. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit. 21 July, 1982. J.M. Gillett 18981. CAN. • Close-up of inflorescence in bud. Inflorescence in bud showing three yellowish outer tepals with white margins. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit. Aiken and Mallory 02–002a. CAN. Photograph by Carolyn Mallory. • Close-up of flowering head. Flowering head with fully open flowers showing 6 white tepals, 6 stamens with small globose anthers, and gynoecium composed of 3 partly fused carpels with separate sessile stigmas at the apex. July, 2004. Photograph by Aiken. No voucher. • Plant habit. Plants growing in dry sedge meadow on hillside behind town. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit. 23 August, 1997. Aiken 97–004. CAN. • Close-up of inflorescence in fruit. Capsules composed of three carpels that are opening at the apex to release seeds. Note the whitish capsule surface and remains of the tepals. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit. Photograph by Carolyn Mallory. No voucher. • 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..