Panarctic Flora


570111 Viola epipsila Ledeb.

Geography: Circumboreal-polar.

Notes: Some authors report the first valid publication of the name Viola epipsila to be one year later, by Ledeb. in Link, Enum. Hort. Berol. Alt. 1: 241 (1821), and the species as described from "Sibiria".

Viola epipsila s. lat. is polymorphic with a geographically structured variation. The prevalent Russian view (Tzvelev 2000a, PAF proposal, comments) is that it is a complex of three species in the north: V. epipsila s. str., V. epipsiloides (= V. repens Turcz. ex Trautv. & C.A. Mey., non Schwein), and V. palustroides (see Excluded taxa). Viola epipsiloides (or subsp. repens) is the taxon accepted by Tzvelev from western Canada, Alaska, northeastern Asia, Siberia, and northeastern European Russia, and according to him (PAF proposal) also the one of northern Fennoscandia.

Until very recently, botanists in northwestern Europe have not considered any variation in V. epipsila in their area of concern and have not taken into account Tzvelev's suggestion. Marcussen (2010) noted some morphological differences between the plants of V. epipsila in southern and northern Fennoscandia. The southern Fennoscandian ones correspond to V. epipsila s. str. We (Elven and Solstad) have noted the same regional difference in the Fennoscandian material and have also studied the Icelandic material. This belongs morphologically together with the northern Fennoscandian one. Another indication of a difference within Scandinavia is that more than 95% of the reported hybrids between V. epipsila s. lat. and V. palustris are from the south, even if the two species are more thoroughly sympatric in the north. The two species are also thoroughly sympatric in Iceland but we found no obvious hybrids in the material. We provisionally assign the northern morphological type in northwestern Europe to subsp. repens. This then means that V. epipsila s. str. is not known from Iceland and possibly does not reach the Arctic in Norway and the Murman area.

Higher Taxa