Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago
English: Alpine cliff fern, alpine cliff brake,
French: Woodsie alpine,
Inuktitut: Uivva, uivvaujaq (Nunavik).
Woodsiaceae, Cliff-fern family.
Published in Nat. Arr. Brit. Pl. 2: 17. 1821.
Type: Described from Britain: "mountains of Wales".
Synonymy. Acrostichum alpinum Bolton, Fil. Brit. 76. 1790.
Woodsia alpina subsp. bellii (G. Lawson) A. Löve and D. Löve, Taxon 26: 326. 1977.
Woodsia bellii (Lawson) A.E. Porsild, Rhodora 47: 147. 1945. 1945.
Woodsia glabella R.Br., in Richardson var. bellii G. Lawson, ser. 2, 19: 281. 1864 reprint p. 24.
Vegetative morphology. Plants (3–)5–10(–20) cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose (loosely clustered). Only fibrous roots present. Roots black. Ground level or underground stems horizontal; stoloniferous; compact. Aerial stems not developed, fern leaves with long petioles arising from a rhizome. Leaves present; arising singly from creeping rhizomes (at ground level from the prostrate stem); alternate; dying annually and non-persistent, or marcescent. Petioles (10–)15–30(–32) mm long; hairy (pale reddish brown, or dark purple when mature, articulating above the base at a swollen node that is relatively brittle and easily shattered). Petiole hairs longer than the diameter of the petiole. Leaf blades compound. Blades (30–)50–100(–200) mm long, 5–12(–25) mm wide, circinate when young (becoming narrowly lanceolate mature fronds), with inconspicuous veins. Blade adaxial surface glabrous or hairy (sparsely), hairs long-silky. Blade abaxial surface hairy (linear to pinnate-pinnatifid towards the base, lacking glands), hairs sparse (a mixture of widely scattered hairs and scales). Blade margins slightly revolute, blades lobed. Blade margins serrulate or crenate (slightly). Hydathodes present and conspicuous (often, as white slits to the veins, seen on the adaxial surface), or present but inconspicuous. Blade apices obtuse. Leaflet arrangement pinnate (pinnae ovate-lanceolate to deltate).
Reproductive morphology. Sporangia in sori on the undersurface of the leaves. Indusia of narrow hair-like segments, one row of cells many times longer than wide, and longer than the sporangia.
Chromosome information. 2n = 160 (seems most likely, but considerable disagreement exists concerning the chromosome number of W. alpina (see below, Windham 1993).
2n = 156. Löve (1976); Jonsell (2001b, Iceland).
2n (4x) = 164. Manton (1950, Europe); Löve and Löve (1961c, Iceland); Windham (1993, Fl. N. Amer. 2, secondary reference);
2n = about 160. Jonsell (2001b, Iceland, Sweden).
Ploidy levels recorded 4x.
Ecology and habitat. Substrates: ridges, cliffs; dry; rocks, gravel (screes); with low organic content; calcareous (or non-acidic). Crevices and ledges on cliffs, occasionally on rocky slopes, mostly slate and calcareous rocks.
North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec, Labrador. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago limited. Uncommon. Arctic, alpine. Arctic islands: Baffin, Southampton, Coats (Nottingham Island, Melville and Simpson peninsulas).
Northern hemisphere distribution. Circumpolar, or circumboreal. Northern Iceland, Polar Ural Novaya Zemlya (?), Kharaulakh, West Chukotka, South Chukotka, East Chukotka (?), West Alaska, North Alaska Yukon, Central Canada, Labrador Hudson Bay, Ellesmere Land Peary Land, West Greenland, East Greenland.
General notes. Isozyme studies confirm the longstanding hypothesis that W. alpina is an allotetraploid derived from hybridisation between W. glabella and W. ilvensis (Windham 1993). Hybrids have been reported both from Europe and North America. These morphologically intermediate triploids with malformed spores have been called W. ×gracilis (G. Lawson) Butters.
Illustrations. • Close-up of plant. Plants less than 15 cm high with fronds arising close together from a cluster of persistent petiole bases. Nunavut, Rankin Inlet. CAN 565146. • Close-up of jointed petioles. Petioles with articulated joint lines (indicated by arrows) and bases of petioles that have broken off at the joints. Nunavut, Rankin Inlet. CAN 565146. • Close-up of leaf surfaces. A. Lower surface of leaf showing sori and sporangia. B. Upper surface of leaf in which the position of the underlying sori appear as dark lines. Nunavut, Rankin Inlet. CAN 565146. • 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..