Panarctic Flora


342202b Festuca rubra subsp. richardsonii (Hook.) Hultén


Northern Iceland: Frequent
Northern Fennoscandia: Scattered
Kanin - Pechora: Frequent
Svalbard - Franz Joseph Land: Frequent
Polar Ural - Novaya Zemlya: Frequent
Yamal - Gydan: Frequent
Taimyr - Severnaya Zemlya: Frequent
Anabar - Onenyo: Frequent
Kharaulakh: Frequent
Yana - Kolyma: Rare
West Chukotka: Frequent
Wrangel Island: Scattered
South Chukotka: Frequent
East Chukotka: Frequent
Western Alaska: Frequent
Northern Alaska - Yukon: Frequent
Central Canada: Frequent
Hudson Bay - Labrador: Scattered
Western Greenland: Frequent
Eastern Greenland: Frequent
Northern arctic Tundra: Scattered
Mid Arctic Tundra: Frequent
Southern Arcti Tundra: Frequent
Shrub Tundra: Frequent
Bordering boreal or alpine areas: Scattered


2n= (1) 42 (6x). - Europe (N), Russia (N), Siberia (N), Far East (N), Alaska, Canada. - Numerous reports, some Russian ones for F. arenaria (see Excluded taxa).
(2) 56 (8x). - Siberia (N, W), Far East (N). - At least five reports. See notes.

Geography: Circumpolar: ICE NOR RUS SIB RFE ALA CAN GRL.

Notes: This major race of Festuca rubra is morphologically fairly uniform throughout its arctic range. Subspecies richardsonii differs from subsp. rubra in several, assumed independently inherited characters (see above). Specific rank is an alternative but there are frequent transitions between subsp. richardsonii and subsp. rubra, at least in northwestern Europe and Greenland.

The correct name as subspecies is undecided. The majority of authors apply subsp. arctica (Hack.) Govor. with priority from 1937, based on Hackel's f. arctica (e.g., Russian authors; Soreng et al. 2003; Darbyshire and Pavlick 2007). This is probably the correct name but we have not found reference to a type. Hackel's diagnosis is not sufficient to distinguish between the arctic plants and boreal-temperate subsp. rubra. Hackel's name was based on plants both from "insulis arcticus" and from "Scandinavia borealis" where subsp. rubra with hairy lemmas is common. Hooker's name F. richardsonii - with priority as subspecies from 1942 - is based on a type certainly belonging to this race. We have therefore chosen to apply that name until a type for Hackel's "arctica" can be confirmed. The name F. richardsonii has priority at level of species if such is preferred.

The majority of documented chromosome counts are of hexaploids. In northern areas, octoploids are confined to Siberia and the Russian Far East and might indicate some additional taxonomic variation there. The plants behind these records should be studied. Löve and Löve (1975a) applied the name F. eriantha Honda, Bot. Mag. (Tokyo) 42: 145 (1928), for the octoploids but their justification for this solution is not known to us. Soreng et al. (2003) synonymized F. eriantha Honda with their F. rubra subsp. arctica but these authors seem to have circumscribed subsp. arctica more widely than we would do for subsp. richardsonii.

Higher Taxa