Panarctic Flora


342212-13 The Festuca lenensis aggregate F. auriculata, F. lenensis

Geography: Asian (C-NE) - amphi-Beringian.

Notes: Tzvelev: Alexeev considered Festuca lenensis and F. auriculata to differ distinctly in morphology, ecology, and chorology. As for ecology and chorology, F. lenensis is a basiphilous steppe species, whereas F. auriculata is an acidophilous arctic-alpine species.

Elven: The two species are diploids and both were stated by Tzvelev (PAF proposal) to have amphi-Beringian ranges.

Aiken: There is only one taxon of the F. auriculata-lenensis group in North America and I am happy to let Tzvelev suggest which name he considers more correct Elven: Soreng et al. (2003) used the name [F. lenensis]. The North American plants vary in expression between the type specimens of both F. auriculata and F. lenensis. They vary: (1) In height from 10 to 30 cm; (2) in the degree of development of leaf blade sclerenchyma from very heavy to only small amounts at the midvein and leaf margins; and (3) whether the spikelets are appressed or spreading which appears to be related to anthesis. The isozyme evidence is that the plants in Canada are diploid. See Aiken et al. (1993).

Elven: The majority of the northwestern North American plants correspond well with F. lenensis as described and as it is found in, e.g., the Lena River valley and Chukotka. However, there are North American specimens that differ from F. lenensis in the features stated to characterize F. auriculata, e.g., leaves softer, not glaucous, with more distinct ribs of sclerenchyma, and often pubescent. I have seen such specimens (ALA) from non-arctic central Alaska (three localities), an arctic locality in northern Alaska (Meade River), and from the near-arctic parts of the Yukon Territory (Richardson Mountains, 6742'N). Aiken annotated the majority of these plants as F. auriculata in her initial study of them (ALA). We accept two species for North America as did Darbyshire and Pavlick (2007).

Higher Taxa