Panarctic Flora


343202 Puccinellia geniculata (V.I. Krecz.) T.J. Sørensen


Western Alaska: Presence uncertain
Shrub Tundra: Presence uncertain
Bordering boreal or alpine areas: Rare


2n= 14 (2x). - Far East (N). - Sokolovskaya (1968); Sokolovskaya and Probatova in Tzvelev (1976).

Geography: Amphi-Beringian (W): ALA?

Notes: We are not sure what Puccinellia geniculata is or whether it belongs within P. phryganodes (see below) or not. Tzvelev (1971) combined P. geniculata as a subspecies of P. phryganodes. Tzvelev (1976: 496, 500) described his subsp. geniculata as differing from subsp. phryganodes in having more numerous and larger panicles, well developed anthers and pollen vs. underdeveloped, with developed fruits vs. fruits usually not formed, and as diploid (2n = 14). However, Kreczetovicz (1934: 471, 759), in the original description of Puccinellia (Atropis) geniculata, specified that it differs from P. phryganodes in being tussocky and without runners and says nothing about fertility. The assumedly diploid P. geniculata has been considered a possible progenitor of the triploid, tetraploid, and perhaps hexaploid and mainly asexual P. phryganodes complex, but that complex may also involve other, still unidentified diploid genomes. A problem with Tzvelev's treatment is that P. phryganodes from its type area in western Alaska ("Kotzebue-Sund") also have numerous and well developed panicles, well developed anthers, and produces fruits. Löve and Löve (1975a, 1976a) may therefore have been right when they considered P. phryganodes to be diploid and with P. geniculata a synonym, whereas they chose the only American specimen suggested as P. geniculata as type for their Phippsia vilfoidea subsp. beringensis. The specimen in question (from Qiqertariaq = St. Michael on Norton Sound) was discussed by Sørensen (1953: 58): "For a curious stoloniferous plant ... which I have had the opportunity to inspect, in my opinion cannot be anything but Puccinellia geniculata (cf. Hultén 1950, p. 1715)." Hultén (1968a) mapped this site as the only Alaskan one for P. geniculata. Davis and Consaul (2007) did not accept P. geniculata for North America and it is recorded on the Asian side only north to non-arctic parts of South Chukotka (Tzvelev 1976). A close comparison of the types of Puccinellia geniculata, P. phryganodes, and Phippsia vilfoidea subsp. beringensis is needed.

We provisionally follow Sørensen's evaluation, consider P. geniculata and P. phryganodes s. str. as different, and assign the Qiqertariaq specimen (and the Löve name) to P. geniculata. The variation in morphology, fertility, and ploidy levels in the Bering Strait area and surroundings should be better investigated.

Higher Taxa