Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago
English: Smooth alkali grass,
French: Puccinellie naine,
Inuktitut: Iviit, ivisuka, ivitsuskaka.
Poaceae, Grass family.
Published in Amer. J. Bot. 21: 129. 1934.
Type: Canada. British Columbia: "salt marsh, Barclay Sound, Vancouver Island, 2 Aug. 1887", Macoun 143. Holotype: US 948646.
Synonymy. Glyceria pumila Macoun ex Vasey, Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 15: 48. 1888.
Puccinellia maritima var. minor Watson in A. Gray, Manual Ed. 6, 668. 1890. Type: Canada. Quebec, Saguenay Co., Salmon Bay, "Labrador", Allen s.n. (Lectotype: GH?, Isolectotypes: NY, US).
Puccinellia paupercula (Holm) Fernald and Weath., Rhodora 18: 18.1916, pro parte.
Puccinellia paupercula (Holm) Fernald and Weath. var. longiglumis Fernald and Weath., Rhodora 18: 20. 1916. P. longiglumis Raym., in Bowden, Can. J. Bot. 39: 134. 1961. Type: Canada. P.E.I.: Queens Co. Bunbury, "border of salt marsh", 28 Aug. 1912, Fernald, Long, and St. John 6921. Holotype: GH!, Isotype: WSU!; Paratype: Canada. P.E.I.: Queens Co., Burnbury, "salt marsh", 9 Aug. 1912, Fernald, Long and St. John 6920. (GH, two paratypes CAN! US, WSU).
Vegetative morphology. Plants 10–25 cm high (in Arctic island specimens; plants in southern parts of the range to 75 cm tall); perennial herbs; caespitose. Only fibrous roots present. Ground level or underground stems absent. Aerial stems decumbent. Leaves mainly basal (but with 2 or more cauline leaves); alternate; marcescent. Prophylls 10–20 mm long; with scabrous veins; with pronounced keels. Petioles absent. Sheaths present; with the margins fused only in the lower part, or with the margins not fused; glabrous, or with trichomes; scabrous (with papillae); sheath collars present. Ligules present; (0.3–)1–2(–3.5) mm long; membranous; glabrous; ovate-oblong. Ligule apices obtuse (but varying from acute to truncate); entire (occasionally erose). Leaves grass-like. Blades 25–80 mm long (Arctic Island specimens), 0.8–1.8 mm wide (when rolled), spreading, rolled in bud, linear, without auricles (ligules decurrent), involute, veins parallel, midvein similar in size to other veins in the leaf. Blade adaxial surface glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glabrous.
Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems two or more per plant. Flowering stems circular or oval in cross section. Flowering stems culm nodes not exposed. Inflorescences paniculate; diffuse (spikelets on the upper half of the branch); ovate, or pyramidal (branches erect to reflexed at maturity); 0.4–1(–2.5) cm long; 2–10 mm wide. Inflorescences main axis glabrous. Number of inflorescence branches at lowest node 1–5(–7). Inflorescence primary branches 1–6(–12) mm long; glabrous; with spreading secondary branches. Spikelets disarticulating above the glumes; lanceolate; 6.7–9 mm long; 2–3 mm wide. Florets per spikelet (3–)4–5(–6). Two glumes present. First glume 0.5–0.6 × the length of the second glume; 0.15–0.2 × spikelet length; 1–2.7 mm long; lanceolate; glabrous; margins scabrous (appearing minutely fringed under high magnification); veins 1; apex acute (to obtuse). Second glume 0.4 × as long as the spikelet or less; shorter than the lowest floret; 1.5–3.9 mm long. Second glume elliptic. Second glume glabrous (sometimes appearing so), or with trichomes (scattered on margins); margins scabrous; veins 3(–5). Rachilla not pronounced between the florets (visible at anthesis); terminating in a vestigial floret; internode 0.1–0.4 mm long; internode glabrous. Callus differentiated (very slightly with a few sparse pilose hairs); hairs 0.05–0.4 mm long; hairs shorter than the floret. Lemma ovate (to obovate); 2.4–4.2 mm long; rounded on the back (or weakly keeled); surface dull; surface glabrous, or sparsely scabrous; veins (4–)5(–7); apex acute (to obtuse); apex entire, or erose; apex scabrous. Length of trichomes less than 25 um (scattered, and blunt trichomes). Lemma awnless. Palea well developed; 2.3–3.6 mm long; veins glabrous (occasionally), or scabrous (scabriform-filiform hairs up to 0.4 mm long on the upper portion of the paleas). Flowers bilaterally symmetrical (zygomorphic); bisexual. Perianth represented by lodicules. Stamens 3. Anthers (0.7–)1.2–1.5 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 3; syncarpous. Styles 2. Placentation basal. Ovules per ovary 1. Fruit sessile; dry; a caryopsis; 1.3–2.6 mm long; indehiscent. Seeds 1.
Chromosome information. 2n = 42, or 56.
2n (6x) = 42. Church, in Myers (1947); Taylor and Mulligan (1968, western Canada); Pojar (1973, western Canada);
2n (8x) = 56. Church, in Myers (1947); Taylor and Mulligan (1968, western Canada).
Ploidy levels recorded 6x/8x.
Taxon as an environmental indicator. Indicative of the zone reached by the highest tides, this species is recorded as exclusively coastal (Davis 1983).
Ecology and habitat. Substrates: seashores; imperfectly drained moist areas; sand, silt; halophytic. Grows in poorly drained sand or on wet mud at the seashore.
North American distribution. This is a Low Arctic species that has been identified from Baffin, Coats, and Southampton islands, by J.I. Davis, Cornell University, 1983 (vouchers at Canada). Continental Nunavut. Low Arctic, coastal. Arctic islands: Baffin, Southampton, Coats.
Northern hemisphere distribution. North American. Central Canada (?), Labrador Hudson Bay.
General notes. The description given here is based on a limited number of specimens available and supplemented by description in J.I. Davis (1983). He considered that P. pumila is exclusively coastal and can be distinguished from other species in the P. nuttalliana complex by the entire, erose, or sparsely scabrous margin of the lemma, as opposed to the predominantly scabrous margin typical of the other three species (P. grandis Swallen, P. nutkaensis (J. Presl) Fernald and Weath., and P. nuttalliana (Schult.) Hitchc.). It is more glabrous overall than any other species in the complex" (Davis 1983).
McJannet et al. (1993) followed Kartesz (1994) and used P. kurilensis (Takeda) Honda for members of this taxon. J.I. Davis was not prepared to consider North American P. pumila synonymous with P. kurilensis (personal communication, 1994); Davis and Soreng (2003) have excluded the name P. kurilensis from the New World Grass flora. Puccinellia pumila is recognised in the Flora of North America treatment (Davis and Consaul 2007).
Illustrations. • Spikelet drawing. Lemma glabrous to sparsely scaberulous. Reproduced with permission from Meddeleser om Grønland, Sorensen (1952). • Herbarium specimen. Specimen shown to depict general growth form of this species, cespitose habit and fine fibrous roots. Nunavut, Coats Island, 62°49'N, 81°56'W. • 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..