Suaeda calceoliformis (Hook.) Moq.

Gillespie, Lynn J., Saarela, Jeffery M., Sokoloff, Paul C. & Bull, Roger D., 2015, New vascular plant records for the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, PhytoKeys 52, pp. 23-79 : 40-43

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scientific name

Suaeda calceoliformis (Hook.) Moq.


Suaeda calceoliformis (Hook.) Moq. Fig. 11

Common name.

Horned sea-blite


North America


This species was first recorded as occurring at Johansen Bay along southern Victoria Island by Thannheiser et al. (2001; voucher at TROM, not seen); however, the species was not included in Aiken et al. (2007) and we thus report it here. We collected Suaeda calceoliformis at five sites on Victoria Island: three on southern Victoria Island (Nunavut), and two in the vicinity of Minto Inlet on north-western Victoria Island (Northwest Territories). These are the first records for this family, genus and species in the CAA. We initially mis-identified our collections as the annual Koenigia islandica ( Polygonaceae ), a superficially similar species known from the adjacent mainland and the eastern Arctic Islands ( Aiken et al. 2007, Porsild and Cody 1980). The true identity of our material was revealed upon collection of DNA barcode data ( Saarela et al. 2013b), which placed them with other Suaeda individuals and distinct from Koenigia . Re-examination of the very small specimens confirmed their identity as Suaeda calceoliformis .

This species is found in saline and disturbed environments in the western and midwestern United States north to south-western Yukon, along southern James Bay and coastal areas of eastern Canada and north-eastern United States ( Bassett and Compton 1978, Cody 2000, Riley 2003, Ferren Jr. and Schenk 2004). It is also known from one sub-Arctic site on the northern side of Great Bear Lake and four areas in the western mainland Arctic: Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula; Rae River mouth, Kugluktuk area; Walker Bay, Kent Peninsula; and Paulatuk and Lower Brock Lagoon ( Bassett and Compton 1978, Cody et al. 2003, Ferren Jr. and Schenk 2004, Porsild and Cody 1980; specimen citations given in Saarela et al. 2013a). The species was treated as a rare plant for the Canadian Arctic ( McJannet et al. 1993). Our five collections from Victoria Island double the number of known sites for this species in the Canadian Arctic. It has probably been overlooked by collectors in its Arctic range, as it is very small and has fairly specialized habitat requirements.

Suaeda calceoliformis displays a wide degree of phenotypic plasticity throughout its range; for example, its height ranges from 5 cm to 1 m in continental Canada ( Ferren Jr. and Schenk 2004). Our collections range from 1-4 cm, with the smallest plants often only possessing a single inflorescence. Habitats on Victoria Island include saline depressions inland and coastal saline flats, and the species was typically found growing in association with Puccinellia arctica (Hook.) Fernald & Weath. and Puccinellia phryganodes (Trin.) Scribn. & Merr.

Specimens examined.

Canada. Nunavut: Kitikmeot Region, Victoria Island, Oterkvik Point vicinity, ca. 8 km N of Coronation Gulf coast, 11 km N of point, 68 °34'32"N, 112°36'57"W, 25-35 m, 5 July 2008, Gillespie, Saarela, Consaul & Bull 7570 (ALA, CAN-592376, O); Kitikmeot Region, Victoria Island, vicinity of Nakoyoktok River, 1.5-2 km southwest of outflow of river from large unnamed lake, ca. 18 km ENE of Johansen Bay, 68°38'37"N, 110°42'22"W, 20-30 m, 19 July 2008, Gillespie, Saarela, Consaul & Bull 8068 (ALA, CAN-593265, MT, O, UBC); Kitikmeot Region, Victoria Island, W end of Johansen Bay at mouth of Mackenzie Creek, 68°36'4"N, 111°21'7"W, 0-20 m, 20 July 2008, Gillespie, Saarela, Consaul & Bull 8137 (ALTA, BABY, CAN-593267). Northwest Territories: Inuvik Region, Victoria Island, NE corner of Boot Inlet, frost boils in Dryas - Arctagrostis tundra above rocky seashore, 71°28'14.5"N, 117°21'36.7"W, 5 m, 10 July 2010, Gillespie, Saarela, Doubt, Bull & Sokoloff 9662 (CAN-598332, O); Inuvik Region, Victoria Island, head of Minto Inlet, end of easternmost inlet (N arm), coastal saline flat, 71°31'6.5"N, 115°6'30.4"W, 1-10 m, 25 July 2010, Gillespie, Saarela, Doubt, Bull & Sokoloff 10243 (CAN-598331).