Panarctic Flora


360910-11 The Anemone drummondii aggregate A. lithophila, A. multiceps

Geography: Amphi-Pacific/Beringian - Cordilleran.

Notes: Murray and Elven: Dutton et al. (1997) tentatively accepted both Anemone drummondii and A. multiceps. They referred to Boraiah and Heimburger (1964) and Hitchcock et al. (1955) for the information that "cytologically the two are quite distinct". They reported the following three ploidy levels: diploid (2n = 16) for A. multiceps, tetraploid (2n = 32) for the southwestern U.S. and Asian A. drummondii var. drummondii, and hexaploid (2n = 48) for the mainly northwestern North American A. drummondii var. lithophila (A. lithophila). However, see notes below under A. lithophila where the chromosome number reports indicate that the ploidy levels are distributed otherwise. Dutton et al.: "Further biosystematic analysis of these entities is needed to determine whether A. multiceps is indeed distinct from A. drummondii".

The morphological differences between the Californian (A. drummondii s. str.) and Alaskan plants (A. lithophila) are much more evident than between the Alaskan A. lithophila and A. multiceps. However, when in flower, even Alaskan A. lithophila and A. multiceps are clearly different. The combination of perianth white or abaxially bluish and stamens and styles white (yellow according to Petrovsky 1971a) in A. lithophila contrasts with perianth blue to purple on both surfaces and stamens purple and styles red in A. multiceps. The distinction is vivid in nature. Identification of herbarium specimens is much more difficult as these plants flower very early and usually are collected in fruiting stage. Comparing non-flowering plants, we have not found differences applicable to practical separation. As there are distinct differences between the three taxa (and especially between the Californian and Alaskan "varieties" of A. drummondii sensu Dutton et al.), no recorded transitions, and as they are at three ploidy levels, we see no reason at present for treating them as anything but three species.

Hultén's concept of these species was confused. He annotated all his Alaskan specimens (S) as A. drummondii, including the one from Anvil Mountain on the Seward Peninsula with perianth distinctly blue on both sides and illustrated as A. drummondii i.e., [A. lithophila] in Hultén (1968a: 466). He annotated the Chukotkan specimens as A. multiceps. Petrovsky (1971a) reported both species from Chukotka but according to Starodubtzev (1995) and Rebristaya and Yurtsev (in comment) all Russian material is now considered to belong to A. multiceps. In an Arctic context, A. multiceps is the amphi-Beringian species (including Hultén's concept of A. drummondii), whereas A. lithophila (A. drummondii var. lithophila) is American Beringian and Cordilleran and A. drummondii s. str. Californian (and eastern Asian).

Higher Taxa