Panarctic Flora


341701 Avenella flexuosa (L.) Drejer


Northern Iceland: Frequent
Northern Fennoscandia: Frequent
Kanin - Pechora: Frequent
Polar Ural - Novaya Zemlya: Scattered
Yamal - Gydan: Rare
Hudson Bay - Labrador: Rare
Western Greenland: Scattered
Eastern Greenland: Scattered
Southern Arcti Tundra: Rare
Shrub Tundra: Frequent
Bordering boreal or alpine areas: Frequent

2n= (1) 28 (4x). - Europe, Russia, Canada (E), U.S.A., Greenland. - Numerous reports.
(2) 52. - Europe (N, W, C). - Albers (1972).

Geography: North American (E) - amphi-Atlantic - European & amphi-Pacific & tropical mountains & Southern Hemisphere; ICE NOR RUS SIB CAN GRL.

Notes: Avenella flexuosa is an extremely widespread and disjunct species (see map in Hultén and Fries 1986). European authors have very often accepted two races as subsp./var. flexuosa and subsp./var. montana. Their distinction is not always clear. Their geographical ranges are undecided. A superficial survey of the Nordic material indicated that two races perhaps could be accepted, but the southern race (subsp. flexuosa) is temperate European and might have its northern limit as far south as in Denmark and southern Sweden. A recent study based on AFLP markers (Brochmann et al. unpubl.) suggested that the main division among northern plants of this species is between the those in Greenland and northeastern North America on one side and those in Europe on the other, and that the south-north variation in Europe is clinal. Lacking a trans-Atlantic morphological comparison and better molecular data, we refrain from accepting races.

The name commonly applied to the northern and alpine European race, "montana", is not applicable for it. The specimens filed in LINN under Aira montana belong to Agrostis rupestris and Poa flexuosa, and Linnaeus' diagnosis better fits an Agrostis (Kerguélen 1975; Conert 1998: 315). However, the selection of a lectotype above on a Scheuchzer illustration, supported by an epitype, assigns the "montana" name to subsp. flexuosa. The oldest name for the northern and alpine plant, if recognized, then seems to be Aira corsica.

Other questions are the relations between Pacific and Atlantic plants and between both these groups and plants of tropical mountains, in South America, and in New Zealand.

Higher Taxa