Panarctic Flora


342209 Festuca vivipara (L.) Sm.


Northern Iceland: Frequent
Northern Fennoscandia: Scattered
Svalbard - Franz Joseph Land: Rare
Ellesmere Island: Rare
Western Greenland: Scattered
Eastern Greenland: Scattered
Mid Arctic Tundra: Presence uncertain
Southern Arcti Tundra: Scattered
Shrub Tundra: Frequent
Bordering boreal or alpine areas: Frequent


2n= (1) 21 (3x). - Europe (N, W). - Several reports, by Frederiksen (1981) for F. ovina x vivipara.
(2) 27 28 (4x). - Europe (N, W, C), Greenland. - Several reports.
(3) 42 (6x). - Europe (Iceland). - Frederiksen (1981).
Not included: A report of the aberrant number of 2n = 46 from Labrador (Gervais et al. 1997b).

Geography: Amphi-Atlantic - European (N): ICE NOR RUS GRL.

Notes: In Norway, Festuca vivipara s. str. is present in the mainland, Jan Mayen, and Bear Island, but not in Spitsbergen. Internal note: Check again Frederiksen (1981) for assignment of the Festuca vivipara s. lat. plants of Jan Mayen and Bear Island.

Alexeev (1985) interpreted F. vivipara s. str. to be a hybrid species derived from F. ovina, alone or in combination with other species. Frederiksen (1981) interpreted the triploid chromosome number to be result of hybridization between diploid F. ovina and tetraploid F. vivipara (subsp. vivipara). She stated, however, that the triploids could not be distinguished morphologically from the tetraploids. Salvesen (1986) confirmed that triploids are common and occur as large populations outside the range of F. ovina and concluded that: "Triploids may have evolved several times as the hybrid F. vivipara x ovina, but the major part of the South-Norwegian triploids seem to constitute a distinct alpine taxon" and "Tetraploid F. vivipara cannot easily be derived from any ancestral form occurring in Scandinavia today". From a morphological and geographical point of view, it therefore seems reasonable to include both triploids and tetraploids (and perhaps also higher polyploids) in F. vivipara s. str. It remains to prove whether the viviparous F. vivipara s. str. can hybridize with F. ovina.

Higher Taxa