Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago
English: Woolly lousewort,
French: Pédiculaire laineuse,
Inuktitut: Ugjungnaq (singular), ugjungnait (plural); Umilik (Baffin Island).
Scrophulariaceae, Fernweed family.
Published in Linnaea, 2: 584. 1827.
Synonymy. Pedicularis kanei Durand, J. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philad., ser. 2, 3: 195. 1856.
Pedicularis willdenowii Vved. in Kom. Fl. SSSR, 22: 778. 1955.
Vegetative morphology. Plants 5–15(–20) cm high; perennial herbs. Taproot present. Stout and branching. Roots yellow (bright lemon yellow). Ground level or underground stems absent. Caudex present (a subligneous zone at ground level). Aerial stems erect. Aerial stem trichomes present; spreading. Leaves heterophyllous; distributed along the stems (and with a basal tuft of fern-like leaves); alternate; dying annually and non-persistent. Petioles present (basal leaves), or absent (stem and bract leaves that may, or may not, have deeply dentate margins); (0–)20–35 mm long; winged (at the base where they are broad, brown, and sheathing); glabrous, or hairy; woolly (on the margins, especially at the sheathing base). Petiole hairs shorter than the diameter of the petiole; spreading; wavy. Leaf blades simple (pinnately divided; basal leaves with 24–54 leaf divisions; 1–1.7 mm long, 0.2–0.5 mm wide). Leaf blade bases truncate. Blades 12–50 mm long, 4–6 mm wide, spreading, linear or oblanceolate, flat, veins pinnate. Blade adaxial surface glabrous or hairy, hairs woolly, hairs simple (if applicable), hairs sparse or moderately dense, hairs white, or translucent. Blade abaxial surface glabrous or hairy (especially bract leaves in the inflorescence), hairs woolly, hairs sparse or moderately dense, hairs white, hairs curved or wavy, hairs appressed or spreading. Blades cut into linear divisions. Blade margins entire or dentate (on the divisions), glabrous; apices acute, or obtuse.
Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems circular or oval in cross section. Flowering stems with leaves. Flowering stems hairy. Flowering stems woolly. Flowering stem hairs simple (and floccose); white or translucent; glandular hairs absent. Inflorescences spicate; terminal; dense (with flowers and woolly hairs); globose or sub-globose (in bud), or cylindrical (in flower); 5–9 cm long; 25–40 mm wide; elongating as the fruit matures. Pedicels present, or absent (often inconspicuous; flowers borne in the axils of leaves similar to the basal leaves, but smaller). Floral bracts green (lower bract leaves longer than the flowers). Flowers large; bilaterally symmetrical (zygomorphic). Sepals conventional; 5; fused; 4–7 mm wide; purple (sometimes also greenish). Calyx tubular; 5-lobed; hairy. Calyx hairs woolly (very densely so); white or translucent. Petals conventional; fused; 5; pink (deep purplish pink); with contrasting markings (helmet petal with hairs on the top and slightly darker than the lower petals); 16–19 mm long. Corolla bilabiate; 2-lobed (helmet), or 3-lobed (lip or landing petal); helmet not prolonged into a long beak; helmet without 2 small teeth at the apex. Stamens 4; stamen filaments all equal in length; stamen filaments hairy for the full length; fused to the corolla. Anthers yellow; ellipsoid; 2–2.4 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 2; syncarpous. Ovaries inverse turnip-shaped; glabrous. Styles 1; 20–24 mm long; straight. Stigmas per ovary 1. Placentation axile. Ovules per ovary few. Fruit sessile; with calyx persisting; dry; a capsule; broadly lanceolate; yellowish, or brown; 9–12 mm long; 4–5 mm wide; glabrous (calyx surrounding base is densely woolly); distinctly flattened; dehiscent; opening at the apex and partially or fully down one side. Seeds (1.5–)2–3 mm long; yellowish (or ash-grey when dry, yellowish with a dark centre that can be seen when the seed is wet or the testa is splitting); surfaces ridged (honeycombed).
Chromosome information. 2n = 16.
(2n) (2x) = 16. Löve and Löve (1975) listed four counts, all as arctic, e.g., Johnson and Packer (1968), Packer and McPherson (1974); Dawe and Murray, in Löve (1979).
Ploidy levels recorded 2x.
Phenology. Phenology: Porsild (1950) noted that this species is one of the earliest spring flowers on the arctic tundra.
Indigenous knowledge. Porsild (1953) reported that Eskimo children pick the flowers and suck the sweet nectar from the base of the long corolla tube. Porsild (1953) noted that towards maturity the stems elongate, and in the winter often protrude through the snow. The root, which is lemon-yellow and sweet, like young carrot, may be eaten raw or cooked. The flowering stem may be eaten boiled as a potherb.
The people of Great Slave Region would take small pieces of these roots that were sun-dried and mix them with tobacco. This was then smoked to relieve headaches (Mallory and Aiken 2004).
Ecology and habitat. Substrates: hummocks, river terraces, tundra, dry meadows, barrens, flood plains; dry, moderately well-drained areas; rocks, gravel, sand, silt, till; with low organic content; calcareous. Open vegetation on calcareous, stony, frost-heaved clay (CAN 220037); hummocky terrain, well-vegetated, Dryas, grasses, Saxifraga, Pedicularis; fine sandy soil (CAN 472950); silty, calcareous till, of Laurentide origin, moderately to well drained (CAN 485388); Dryas-legume tundra (CAN 484741); sparse grass hummocks, fine sand (CAN 472952); silty, hummocky, carbonate-rich "Jesse Till" (CAN 503665).
Polunin (1940) claimed that this species grows chiefly in dry, heath areas that are sheltered and covered in snow in winter, but may also be found in marshes and on sparsely vegetated, gravelly soil in exposed places. Thus it exhibits a wide range of tolerance to most environmental factors. Elven (personal communication, 2005) questioned this, asking if the marsh plants were not misidentified. He stated that among the thousands of plants he had seen in the field, of this species and two "parallel" species (P. alopecuroides and P. dasyantha), he had never seen it in a marsh, but rather always in intermediate to dry, gravelly, heathy sites.
North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories Islands, continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago widespread. Common. Arctic, alpine. Arctic islands: Baffin, Devon, Ellesmere, Axel Heiberg, Parry islands (Bathurst, Emerald, Melville), Banks, Victoria, Prince of Wales, King William, Somerset, Southampton (Bylot), Coats.
Northern hemisphere distribution. Amphi-Beringian, or North American. West Chukotka, South Chukotka, East Chukotka, West Alaska, North Alaska Yukon, Central Canada, Labrador Hudson Bay, Ellesmere Land Peary Land, West Greenland.
General notes. Elven et al. (2003) considered the Pedicularis lanata aggregate included P. alopecuroides, P. dasyantha, and P. lanata and noted the three entities are allopatric or parapatric and not very different morphologically. They considered treating the taxa as subspecies as an alternative. That was done by Hultén (1971) who recognised P. kanei subspp. dasyantha, adamsii and lanata. The oldest species name in the group is 'alopecuroides', not 'lanata' (Elven et al. 2003).
Polunin (1940) consider this "perhaps the most handsome of all High Arctic plants, with its tall woolly spike of bright pink flowers and its fat yellow root, which pulls up so easily and which, even if its taste is somewhat earthy, I have on occasion been very glad to find. It is one of the few tolerably palatable plants in these inhospitable regions.... It is conspicuous and characteristic and not to be confused with any other species in the field, even if in herbaria it has sometimes proved difficult to separate from [P. langsdorffii]"...It is one of the first flowers to appear when the snow melts, and although the uppermost blossoms on the rapidly elongating spike come out many days after the lowest, they [do not flower for long] and hence are missed by most summer visitors." (p. 332)
Philipp (1998) studied four closely related species of Pedicularis within a limited area of Greenland (P. flammea, hirsuta, lanata, and lapponica). The species chosen have different breeding systems and they were analysed for amount and distribution of genetic variation at three sites at Qeqertarsuaq, West Greenland. Isozyme variation was present in two enzyme systems (phosphogluconate dehydrogenase and phosphoglucomutase) in P. lanata. Average genetic diversity (He) was 0.028, including monomorphic loci. Compared to the other three species investigated, P. lanata had the breeding system with the highest capacity for outcrossing in the study area and also showed the greatest morphological variation within its geographic distribution. Thus, there seems to be accordance between the morphological variation, breeding system, and the population genetic results.
Williams and Batzlli (1982) found P. (kanei) lanata bloomed earlier than the four other species that are common near Atkasook, Alaska, and rely on bumblebees for pollination. This early species had the largest shoots and produced many seeds even though nectar production and pollination success (seeds per ovule) were low.
Illustrations. • Branching taproot. Plant with a thick branching taproot that is lemon-yellow when fresh but has dried brown. Note caudex region with an accumulation of dead leaves. Nunavut, Baffin Island, Nettilling Lake. J.D. Soper 125811. CAN 97797. • Long taproot. Preserved roots on this herbarium specimen approximately 25 cm long. aboveground portion of the plant 5 cm high. N.W.T., Banks Island, Sachs Harbour. 8 August, 1962. J.D.H. Lambert. CAN 529489. • Base of plants. Pinnately divided simple leaves that tend to secondary divisions, and a relatively narrow caudex zone and taproot suggesting a young plant. Nunavut, Victoria Island, Long Lake. 13 July, 1964. J.D.H. Lambert. CAN 529322. • Habitat. Woolly early season plants, about 5 cm high near the markers, growing on dry Dryas and Carex tundra. N.W.T., Banks Island, Aulavik National Park, near Green Cabin. 29 June, 1999. Aiken 99–001. CAN. • Close-up of early growth. "Woolly balls", the basis of the name "lanata" from the dense and long woolly hairs on the stem. The blackish green tips of the leaves are just a little longer than the woolly hairs at this stage. N.W.T., Banks Island, Aulavik National Park, near Green Cabin. 29 June, 1999. Aiken 99–001. CAN. • Close-up of early growth. Plants 4–5 cm high, covered with woolly floccose hairs. The blackish green tips of the bract leaves are just longer than the woolly hairs at this stage. N.W.T., Banks Island, Aulavik National Park, near Green Cabin. 29 June, 1999. Aiken 99–001. CAN. • Close-up of inflorescence. Pink helmet petals beginning to appear, before the plant is less than 5 cm tall. N.W.T., Banks Island, Aulavik National Park, near Green Cabin. 29 June, 1999. Aiken 99–001. CAN. Scale bar in cm. • Surface view of plants. Pedicularis dasyantha, an old world species in the P. lanata aggregate. Dense wool covers the inflorescence before flowering, traps heat and promotes rapid flowering. Norway, Svalbard, Gipsdalen. July, 1997. Photograph by R. Elven. • Close-up of inflorescence. Inflorescence in flower. The "wool" is inconspicuous among the flowers at this stage. Note the relatively narrow, arched helmet petals that are about as long as the lower petals, the similarity in the colour of all the petals, styles and stigmas protruding from the upper flowers, and the two anthers visible in one of the lower flowers. N.W.T., Banks Island, Aulavik National Park, near Green Cabin. 29 June, 1999. Aiken 99–001. CAN. • Close-up of inflorescence. Note the three fused and ridged landing petals, and the two hood or helmet petals that do not have teeth near the apex and are about as long as the landing petals. N.W.T., Banks Island, Aulavik National Park, near Green Cabin. 29 June, 1999. Aiken 99–001. CAN. • 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..