Panarctic Flora


361226c Ranunculus subborealis subsp. pumilus (Wahlenb.) Elven


Northern Iceland: Present only in the Borderline Arctic
Shrub Tundra: Present only in the Borderline Arctic
Bordering boreal or alpine areas: Frequent

2n= 14 (2x). - Europe (N). - At least five reports.

Geography: European (NW): (ICE).

Notes: There are two meanings of the name "pumilus". One is Nordic and based on Ranunculus acris var. ? Wahlenb. 1811, formalized as R. acris var. pumilus Wahlenb. 1824. This is the priority meaning. Another is Russian and based on R. acris var. pumilus "Wahlenb. ex" J. Fellm., Bull. Soc. Imp. Naturalistes Moscou 8: 271 (1835). If Fellmann based his variety on Wahlenberg's var. ?, it is a superfluous combination antedated by Wahlenberg 1824, and the Nordic meaning as established by the type designated by Nurmi is then valid also for Fellmann's variety. If it is based on another type the name is an illegitimate later homonym.

From the descriptions in several Russian treatments, the application of the name var. pumilus J. Fellm. in Russian areas differs from that of the name var. pumilus Wahlenb. in northwestern Europe. Variety pumilus Wahlenb. is, as far as known, restricted to the Scandinavian mountains, Scotland, and Iceland (there in the Borderline Arctic). It is characterized, among other things, by moderately five-partite, fleshy leaves with obtuse lobes, by being nearly glabrous in all parts including the lower parts of the stem and the petioles and blades of basal leaves, by few or only one large flower, and by distinctly hooked beaks of the achenes. Tolmachev (1971b) described the Russian var. pumilus J. Fellm. (R. lanuginosiformis Selin ex Trautv.) with stems pubescent from the base with patent, often brownish hairs, petioles and often blades hairy, and with a different leaf shape, i.e., features of R. subborealis s. str.

Another matter is that there is some variation in the Scandinavian plants currently assigned to subsp. pumilus. Those bordering on subsp. villosus in the southern and central mountains mainly have five-partite leaves (like subsp. villosus) with obtuse lobes, whereas those bordering on subsp. subborealis in the northeastern mountains mainly have tri-partite leaves (like subsp. subborealis) with acute lobes. The type of Wahlenberg's var. pumilus belongs to the former category. We include the latter ones in subsp. subborealis, which means that subsp. pumilus does not reach the Arctic in Fennoscandia and only borders on the Arctic in Iceland.

Higher Taxa