Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago
English: Violet wheat grass,
French: Élyme à glumes larges,
Inuktitut: Iviit, ivisuka, ivitsuskaka.
Poaceae, Grass family.
Published in Taxon 19: 299. 1970.
Type: United States: Alaska. Circle City. 18 Aug. 1899. W.H. Osgood. Holotype: US.
Synonymy. Agropyron alaskanum Scribn. and Merr. Contrib. U.S. Natl. Herb. 13: 85. 1910.
Agropyron boreale (Turcz.) Drobow subsp. alaskanum (Scribn. and Merr.) Melderis, Ark. Bot. Ser. 2. 7: 19. 1968.
Agropyron violaceum var. latiglume Scribn. and J.G. Sm., U. S. Dept. Agric. Div. Agrost. Bull. 4: 30. 1897.
Agropyron latiglume (Scribn. and J.G. Sm.) Rydberg, Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 36: 539. 1909, non Elymus latiglumis R.A. Phil. 1864.
Roegneria latiglumis (Scribn. and J.G. Sm.) Beetle, Rhodora 54: 196. 1952.
Elymus alaskanus subsp. latiglumis (Scribn. and J.G. Sm.) Á. Löve, Taxon 29: 166. 1980. Type: United States: Montana. Gallatin Co., Lone Mountain, Tweedy 1011. (Lectotype: US, cf. Hitchcock and Chase 1951, p. 798).
Agropyron boreale (Turcz.) Drobow, Tr. Bot. Muz. Imp. Akad. Nauk, 16: 84. 1916.
Roegeneria borealis (Turcz.) Nevski, in Komarov, Fl. URSS, 2: 264. 1934.
Elymus alaskanus subsp. borealis (Turcz.) A. Löve and D. Löve, Bot. Not. 128: 502. 1975 Type: USSR: "ad viam Ochotensem prope fl. Aldan" Yakutsk ASSR: Yakutsk to Okhotsk road near Aldan River ("T. biflorum") 1834–1836. Holotype: LE?
Agropyron violaceum var. hyperarcticum Polunin, Bull. Natl. Mus. Canada 92 (Biol. Ser. 24): 95. 1940.
Roegneria borealis subsp. hyperarctica (Polunin) A. Löve and D. Löve, Acta Horti Gothob. 20: 188. 1956.
Agropyron boreale Drobow subsp. hyperarcticum (Polunin) Melderis, in Hultén, Ark. Bot. Ser. 2, 7: 19. 1968. Type: Canada: Nunavut, Baffin Island, Arctic Bay, 9 Sept. 1936. N. Polunin 2531. Holotype: BM, Isotypes: CAN! GH.
Vegetative morphology. Plants (15–)20–40(–70) cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose (loosely tufted). Only fibrous roots present. Ground level or underground stems horizontal, or vertical, or absent; compact. Aerial stems erect, or decumbent. Leaves distributed along the stems (appearing as basal in dwarf plants); alternate; marcescent. Prophylls 6–18 mm long; with smooth veins (glabrescent); lacking pronounced keels (bladeless sheath-like structures with several veins occur). Petioles absent. Sheaths present; with the margins fused only in the lower part; glabrous; sheath collars present. Ligules present; 0.2–0.6 mm long; a fringed membrane; hairy; transversely oblong. Ligule apices truncate; erose. Leaves grass-like. Blades 40–160 mm long, 3–6 mm wide, spreading, rolled in bud, linear, without auricles (collar margins sometimes swollen and overlapping), flat (usually, sometimes drying involute), veins parallel, midvein similar in size to other veins in the leaf. Blade adaxial surface glabrous or hairy. Blade abaxial surface hairy.
Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems two or more per plant. Flowering stems circular or oval in cross section. Flowering stems with leaves; culm nodes not exposed (usually), or becoming exposed; culm nodes number visible 0–1. Inflorescences spicate; dense; linear; 3.5–10.5 cm long; 5–20 mm wide. Inflorescences main axis scabrous (especially on the angles). Pedicels absent. Spikelets disarticulating above the glumes; lanceolate, or ovate, or oblanceolate; 11–17 mm long; 1.8–6(–9.2) mm wide. Florets per spikelet (2–)3–5(–7). Two glumes present. First glume 0.8–1 × the length of the second glume; 0.4–0.55 × spikelet length; 5–9 mm long; oblanceolate (asymmetrical near the apex, usually abruptly narrowed to a point, or to a short awn); glabrous, or with trichomes; margins glabrous; veins 3(–5); apex acuminate. Second glume 0.4–0.9 × as long as the spikelet; almost as long as, or longer than, the lowest floret; 5–12 mm long. Second glume lanceolate. Second glume glabrous, or with trichomes (rarely hairy); veins 3–6. Rachilla not pronounced between the florets; extending beyond the uppermost floret; internode 1.6–2.2 mm long; internode scabrous. Lemma lanceolate; 7–10 mm long; rounded on the back; surface dull; surface glabrous, or hairy; veins 5; apex acuminate; apex entire; apex glabrous, or ciliate; awned. Awn arising from the tip. Awn 1–2(–3) mm long. Palea well developed; 7–9 mm long; veins scabrous. Flowers bilaterally symmetrical (zygomorphic). Perianth represented by lodicules. Stamens 3. Anthers 1.2–2 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 3; syncarpous. Ovaries glabrous. Styles 2. Placentation basal. Ovules per ovary 1. Fruit sessile; dry; a caryopsis; 4.5–5.5 mm long; indehiscent. Seeds 1.
Chromosome information. 2n = 28.
2n (4x) = 28. Hedberg (1967, Alaska); Knaben (1968, Alaska); Löve (1980a, 1984).
Ploidy levels recorded 4x.
Taxon as an environmental indicator. The occurrence of plants of this species indicates dry, well-drained, weakly to moderately alkaline environments.
Ecology and habitat. Substrates: river terraces (and sandy depressions within them), slopes (such as Salix or Saxifrage slopes, or steep talus), cliffs; dry, moderately well-drained areas; rocks, gravel, sand, silt, clay, till; calcareous. Found predominantly on well-drained, weakly to moderately alkaline, sandy and gravelly soils. Common on wind or water eroded banks and knolls, particularly on disturbed soils around animal burrows. It is abundant around settlements and construction sites in the warmest sectors of the High Arctic.
North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories Islands, continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec, Labrador. Arctic islands: Ellesmere, Axel Heiberg, Parry islands (Eglington, Emerald, Melville), Banks, Victoria.
Northern hemisphere distribution. Circumpolar, or circumboreal. Impossible to give because PAF applies different species.
General notes. A circumpolar, polymorphic species. Within this taxon several species and subspecies have been distinguished on the basis of the following characters: leaf width, blade surfaces glabrous or pubescent, inflorescence length, glume length and width, and the presence or absence of glume and lemma hairs, the bloom on leaves, the presence or absence of small sharp papillae on culms, the width of the hyaline margins on the glumes and lemma and where trichomes occur on these structures. It is here treated as an aggregate, and the description includes the extremes of variation found in Arctic Island material. More synonymy for this complex, including specimens from outside our area, is suggested by Löve (1984), and many other names have been applied to morphological extremes of the complex by Russian authors as indicated by Tzvelev (1976). Elymus alaskanus is the name used by A. Melderis (1980) in Flora Europaea, Kartesz (1994), and Barkworth et al. (2007).
Illustrations. • Isotype Agropyron violaceum var. hyperarcticum. Isotype of Agropyron violaceum var. hyperarcticum. This species has spicate inflorescences. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Arctic Bay. 1936. N. Polunin 2531. Isotype: CAN. • Habitat. Plants 25–35 cm tall growing in a gravel river bed. Pinkish purple inflorescences at pre-anthesis. Northern Yukon. 1988. Aiken. • 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..