Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago


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

Armeria scabra Pall. ex Roem. and Schult.

English: Arctic thrift, sea pink, "carnation"

French: Arméria de Sibérie,

Inuktitut: Immulik.

Plumbaginaceae, Leadwort family.

Published in Syst. Veg. 6: 776. 1820.

Synonymy. Armeria labradorica Wallr., Beitr. Bot. 2: 185. 1844.

Armeria maritima (Mill.) Willd. subsp. labradorica (Wallr.) Hultén, Acta Univ. Lund., n. s., sect. 2, 44, 1: 1296. 1948.

Armeria sibirica Turcz. ex Boiss., in DC., Prodr. 12: 678. 1848.

Armeria labradorica Wallr. f. glabriscapa (Blake) Malte, Rhodora 36: 185. 1934.

Armeria labradorica Wallr. f. pubiscapa (Blake) Malte, Rhodora 36: 185. 1934.

Armeria. maritima (Mill.) Willd. subsp. arctica (Cham.) Hultén, Lunds. Univ. Årsskr., n. f., avd. 2, 44, 1: 1295. 1948.

Armeria vulgaris Willd. f. arctica Cham., Linnaea 6: 566. 1831 pro parte.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 5–20(–30) cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose. Taproot present. Ground level or underground stems absent. Caudex present. Aerial stems erect. Leaves mainly basal; alternate; persistent. Petioles absent. Ligules absent (although the leaves are grass-like). Leaf blades simple. Leaves grass-like. Blades 50–100 mm long, 1–1.5(–2.5) mm wide (wider at the sheathing base), appressed to the stem or spreading, linear, flat or involute (slightly), with inconspicuous veins. Blade adaxial surface glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glabrous. Blade margins glabrous or with non-glandular hairs (sparse and probably glabrescent); apices acuminate.

Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems two or more per plant; conspicuously taller than the leaves; without leaves. Inflorescences cymose, or head-like; dense; globose or sub-globose; 1–2 cm long; 1.5–2.5 mm wide. Pedicels absent. Involucral bracts present. Number of rows 2. Outer involucral bracts mostly green (with a wide hyaline margin); obovate; 4.5–5.5 mm high (sheathing involucral scale surrounding the flowering stalk may be longer); 3–4 mm wide (individual bracts); glabrous. Flowers per inflorescence 30–50; medium-sized (individual flowers), or large (inflorescence 15–25 mm in diameter). Sepals conventional; 5; fused; 3–4 mm wide (at anthesis); green, or white, or purplish red (with age); herbaceous (in flower), or scarious (in fruit); accrescent (becoming like a badminton shuttle-cock and assisting seed dispersal). Calyx funnel-form; 5-lobed (lobes apiculate, between the lobes, fluted); hairy (on all the surface of the calyx in this subspecies). Calyx hairs white or translucent. Petals conventional; free; longer than the calyx (at anthesis); 5; red (in bud), or pink (in flower); spatulate; unlobed, or slightly lobed or undulating; 7–9 mm long; 3–3.5 mm wide (at the apex, 0.5–0.6 mm at the base). Stamens 5; stamen filaments glabrous; fused to the corolla (at the base). Anthers ellipsoid; 1–1.5 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 5; syncarpous. Ovaries sub-globose; glabrous. Styles 5; 4.5–5.5 mm long. Stigmas per ovary 1. Placentation basal. Ovules per ovary 1. Fruit sessile; with calyx persisting (as a membranous funnel that aids seed dispersal by wind); dry; a nut; ovoid; brown; 1–1.2 mm long; 0.4–0.6 mm wide (rare in Arctic samples); not distinctly flattened; indehiscent. Seeds 1; mature seeds not found in N.W.T. samples;.

Chromosome information. 2n = 18.

2n = 18. Phillips (1938, 'arctica', 'labradorica', 'sibirica' and 'beringensis'); Sugiura (1941, 1944, 'arctica', 'scabra' and 'beringensis'); Sørensen and Westergaard, in Löve and Löve (1948, Greenland, 'scabra'); Jørgensen et al. (1958, Greenland, 'scabra'); Sokolovskaya and Strelkova (1960, 'arctica'); Zhukova (1966, northeastern Asia, 'arctica'); Hedberg (1967, northern Canada, 'labradorica'); Delay and Coustaud (1968, 'labradorica' and 'arctica'; 1969, 'sibirica'); Johnson and Packer (1968, northwestern Alaska, 'sibirica'); Matveeva and Tikhonova, in Bolkhovskikh et al. (1969, 'sibirica'); Engelskjøn and Knaben (1971, northern Norway, 'sibirica'); Packer and McPherson (1974, northern Alaska, 'maritima' coll.); Krogulevich (1976a, 1984, Siberia, 'scabra'); Dawe and Murray, in Löve (1980b, Alaska, 'arctica'); Zhukova (1980, southern Chukotka, 'arctica'); Löve and Löve (1982a, central Canada, 'sibirica'); Kovanda (1983, 'scabra'); Zhukova and Petrovsky (1987b, northeastern Asia); Dalgaard (1989, western Greenland, 'sibirica').

Ploidy levels recorded 2x.

Indigenous knowledge. When a group of Inuit women at Iqaluit, Baffin Island, Nunavut were asked what they called this plant they spontaneously replied "Carnation". Judith Farrow who reported the incident (in 1986) was sure that they had equated the flowers of sea pink with the drawings on the familiar cans of Carnation milk.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: river terraces, lakeshores (on sandy beaches, dunes), slopes, seashores (on Dryas hillsides); dry, moderately well-drained areas; gravel, sand, silt, clay; with low organic content; calcareous.

North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories Islands, continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec, Labrador. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago widespread. Common. Arctic. Arctic islands: Baffin, Devon, Ellesmere, Axel Heiberg, Banks, Victoria, Somerset, Southampton (Bylot and Prince Charles).

Northern hemisphere distribution. Circumpolar. Northern Fennoscandian, Kanin–Pechora, Polar Ural – Novaya Zemlya, Yamal–Gydan, Taimyr – Severnaya Zemlya, Anabar–Olenyok, Kharaulakh, Yana–Kolyma, West Chukotka, Wrangel Island, South Chukotka, East Chukotka, West Alaska, North Alaska – Yukon, Central Canada, Labrador – Hudson Bay, Ellesmere Land – Peary Land, West Greenland, East Greenland.

General notes. Lefèbvre and Vekemans (1994) reported on the results of phenetic analysis, using multivariate methods on several hundreds of herbarium specimens of Armeria maritima. Two subspecies occupying distinct territories were recognised: A. maritima subsp. californica, occurring under temperate climates along the Pacific Coast from Vancouver Island to California, and A. maritima subsp. sibirica, [= A. scabra] found in arctic and subarctic areas. The latter can be easily distinguished by its glabrous calyces. The morphological variation between subsp. californica and subsp. sibirica is continuous, and some overlap occurs. The best diagnostic characters are two ratios: sheath length to flower head width, and outer involucral bract length to flower head width. Geographic trends are obvious: a reduction in plant size, with increasing latitude, and an increase in frequency from west to east. The dimorphic subsp. maritima was maintained by these authors because of its distinct breeding system (papillate stigma associated with finely reticulate pollen, and smooth stigma associated with coarsely reticulate pollen). Subspecies maritima is only found in south Greenland, and some specimens are morphologically similar to eastern monomorphic plants.

In discussions leading to the treatment of this species in Elven et al. (2003), Elven noted we had two options, either to treat the entities as species or as subspecies (Elven 2003, personal communication). The two entities which reach the North Atlantic area (northern Russia, northern Fennoscandia, Iceland, Greenland) appear quite distinct, and from a regional viewpoint, could be accepted as species. When the circumpolar variation is considered it becomes more problematic to uphold the taxa as distinct species. Elven et al. (2003) proposed recognising two major and mainly allopatric entities which replace each other circumpolarly: one mainly temperate North Atlantic ('maritima' s.s.), and one arctic and nearly circumpolar ('scabra', 'sibirica' or 'labradorica'). A third Beringian ('arctica') entity has been indicated but is ambiguous and is currently included in this taxon. At species level the correct name for the arctic entity is A. scabra (Elven et al. 2005).

Porsild (1957) suggested that a western race, subsp. arctica (Cham.) Hultén, in which the grooves between the ribs of the calyx tube are glabrous may be the taxon occurring in the westernmost islands.

Horticultural varieties of Armeria are sold as a garden perennial in southern Canada.

Illustrations. • Habitat: Banks Island. Plants next to the marker growing in sand dunes beside the Thomsen River. N.W.T., Banks Island, Aulavik National Park. Aiken 99–226. CAN. • Close-up of plant. Plants growing in sand dunes. Vivid red flowering heads composed of many individual flowers in bud. N.W.T., Banks Island, Aulavik National Park. 10 July, 1999. Aiken 99–226. CAN. Scale bar in cm. • Close-up of bud. Bud at ground level among the linear basal leaves. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Soper River Valley. 6–11 July, 2002. Aiken and Iles. No voucher. • Involucral buds. Underside of flowering head with 2–3 rows of involucral bracts. The tops of the scarious sepals extend beyond the bracts. Aiken and LeBlanc 2004. No voucher. • Close-up of flowering head. Compact head in which the outer flowers have finished flowering and only the fused scarious calyx remains, innermost flowers are in bud. Aiken and LeBlanc 2004. No voucher. • Close-up of part of flowering head. Mainly scarious calyx (A) has darker rays that indicate the individual sepals making up the calyx; (B) a flower in bud, (C) a flower at anthesis. Aiken and Leblanc 2004. No voucher. • Close-up of plant. Close-up of plants with late flowering heads that have faded to pale pink and grey-pink heads and are going to seed. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Iqaluit. Late August, 1997. Aiken. No voucher. • Close-up of fruiting heads. Plants going to seed. The petals have dropped and the white scarious tops of the calyx are visible. Below, fruit have dispersed and the large white bracts between the flowers are visible. Baffin Island, Apex, 19 August, 2006. Aiken. 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.