Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Russian Federation

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Endemic to eastern Beringia; Alaska, the easternmost tip of Chukotka (Russia), and northwestern Yukon Territory.

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Yukon; Alaska; Asia (Russian Far East).
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Plants perennial, dioecious, forming dense cushions to 10 cm or more diam., with branching caudex, arising from taproot. Stems branched, 4-angled, 1-4 cm, glabrous; branches erect or ascending, thickly clothed with marcescent leaves. Leaves sessile; basal blades oblanceolate to obovate or elliptic, 3-5 × 1-1.5 mm, succulent, base cuneate, margins entire, apex acute or abruptly acuminate to obtuse, glabrous; cauline shorter. Inflorescences solitary-flowered in axils of foliage leaves; bract 1, foliaceous, ca. 1 mm. Pedicels 1-5 mm, glabrous. Flowers unisexual, 3-4 mm diam.; sepals 5, 3-veined, keeled, 2.5-3 mm, margins narrow, apex acute, glabrous or with sparse, short, glandular pubescence; petals absent; stamens 10, shorter than sepals; styles 3, erect, becoming outwardly curved, ca. 1 mm; staminate flowers with brownish, peglike, conspicuous nectaries alternating with and attached to base of stamens; pistillate flowers with well-developed but nonfunctional stamens and nectaries. Capsules straw colored, broadly ovoid, ca. 3 × 2 mm, ca. equaling sepals, apex obtuse, opening by 3 valves, each of which splits into 2; carpophore absent. Seeds 1, brown, broadly reniform with thickened rim, ca. 1.1 mm diam., finely verrucate. 2n = 26.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Cherleria dicranoides Chamisso & Schlechtendal, Linnaea 1: 63. 1826; Arenaria chamissonis Maguire; A. dicranoides (Chamisso & Schlechtendal) Hultén
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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Dry rocky ridges, screes, outcrops, alpine fellfields, and Dryas mats; limetone talus and carbonate rocks (ALA collections, Hulten 1968).

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Arctic screes, fellfields, gravelly tundra, rocky knolls on wide variety of rock types; 300-1700m.
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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 21 to >300

Comments: Fewer than 50 locations are known from collections, but this is an inconspicuous and easily overlooked taxon. New locations are found each year, though it is usually localized and restricted rather than widespread across an area.

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering summer.
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N1 - Critically Imperiled

Russian Federation

Rounded National Status Rank: N1 - Critically Imperiled

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G3 - Vulnerable

Reasons: A distinctive Beringian endemic of limited distribution and restricted habitat. It has a scattered distribution on outcrops and screes, but is reported as common from at least several sites.

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Notes

Comments

Stellaria dicranoides is of uncertain generic position. Many workers have placed it in the genus Arenaria. The absence of petals deprives us of a key character separating Stellaria from Arenaria. The ovate capsule with its three valves, each tardily dehiscent into two, suggests Arenaria or Minuartia. However, the chromosome number of 2n = 26 is more often associated with Stellaria. The single large seed, which fills the capsule, is unusual. In its floral structure, including its large nectaries and unisexual flowers, S. dicranoides closely resembles the European M. (Cherleria) sedoides (Linnaeus) Hiern. In fact, Chamisso, who first described this species, placed it in the genus Cherleria.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Kartesz (1994) and Hulten (1968) recognize synonymy between Stellaria dicranoides and Arenaria chamissonis.

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