E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Douglasia laevigata A. Gray
smooth douglasia (cliff dwarf-primrose)
Primulaceae

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #14089)

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Distribution of Douglasia laevigata
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Species Information

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General:
Plants rhizomatous and mat-forming (sometimes loosely cespitose), 2-7 cm tall, stems prostrate to ascending.
Stems:
Scapes erect, minutely hairy with stellate or branched hairs, elongating little in fruit.
Leaves:
Leaves mostly basal, in multiple rosettes, oblanceolate to oblong or spatulate, apices obtuse to slightly acute, few-toothed to entire, surfaces glabrous, often ciliate with simple hairs, 5-20 mm.
Flowers:
Inflorescences umbellate, of 2-10 flowers, bracteate; involucral bracts 4-8, lanceolate to ovate, 3-8 mm. Flowers short-stalked; corollas deep pink (fading to lavender), tube 6-7 mm, lobes 3-5 mm; calyces stellate-hairy, 6-7 mm, lobes lanceolate; pedicels 2-15 mm long, finely stellate-hairy. Flowering Jun-Aug.
Fruits:
Capsules globose, 5-valvate.

Source: The Vascular Flora of British Columbia, draft 2014.
Author: Jamie Fenneman

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Purple
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Moist talus slopes, ridges, cliffs, outcrops, and rocky ledges in the lowland, montane, subalpine, and alpine zones. Rare in coastal and sw BC (Vancouver I, Haida Gwaii, Manning P.P.); south to OR.

Source: The Vascular Flora of British Columbia, draft 2014.
Author: Jamie Fenneman

Additional Notes

This species is often associated with calcareous substrates. Although most populations occur at moderate to high elevations, D. laevigata is also known from at or near sea level on Haida Gwaii and Read Island (in Desolation Sound); the latter population is not supported by a specimen due to the inaccessible nature of the population, which was growing on a vertical cliff. All populations in B.C. have traditionally been attributed to var. ciliolata but, as the presence of cilia along the leaf margins is highly variable throughout the species’ range (and even the supposedly non-ciliate var. laevigata shows some small cilia along the leaf margins), recent authors have been hesitant to recognize any infraspecific taxa in this species.

Two somewhat similar species of Douglasia have been reported for B.C. but, as neither is supported by a specimen or other conclusive evidence, they are not considered part of the provincial flora; both species occur within close proximity to the border, however, and could potentially be encountered in the province. Fortunately, both species occur in discrete areas and do not overlap with any other Douglasia species, rendering identification straightforward if encountered. Douglasia montana A.Gray (ROCKY MOUNTAIN DOUGLASIA) approaches the B.C. border in northwestern Montana and extreme southwestern Alberta (Waterton Lakes National Park) and should be sought in extreme se B.C. (e.g., Akimina-Kishenina Provincial Park, Flathead region). It is a loosely cespitose species of rocky slopes, scree, and stony tundra at middle to high elevations, and is best distinguished by its few-flowered inflorescences (1-2 flowers per inflorescence). Douglasia nivalis Lindl. (WENATCHEE DOUGLASIA) is primarily a species of the Wenatchee Mountains of Washington, although it also occurs in northeastern Washington near the B.C. border (Ferry County) and could potentially occur in adjacent areas of the province. It is a mat-forming species of dry rocky slopes, talus, and ridgetops at middle to high elevations, and can be easily distinguished from D. laevigata by its linear to lanceolate leaves that are densely covered in branched and stellate hairs.

Source: The Vascular Flora of British Columbia, draft 2014

Author: Jamie Fenneman

Family Information

Primulaceae:

Annual, biennial, or perennial forbs; scapose; from fibrous roots, short rhizome, or branched caudex, occasionally mat-forming or cespitose. Scapes ascending to erect, solitary or several per plant, unbranched. Leaves all basal, often rosulate, simple, unlobed, entire to toothed, subsessile to stalked, glabrous to pubescent, sometime glandular. Inflorescence a terminal, bracteate umbel, or flowers solitary. Flowers radially symmetric, 5-merous, bisexual, stalked; corolla campanulate or tubular to salviform, lobes sometimes sharply reflexed, usually whitish or pinkish to deep magenta, 4- to 5-lobed; calyces 4- to 5-lobed; stamens 5; filaments distinct or partially connate; ovary superior; style 1. Fruits 5-chambered dehiscent capsules, valvate to circumcissile. Genera 20, species ca. 600 (4 genera, 15 spp. in B.C.). Widespread in arctic, temperate, and subtropical regions of the northern hemisphere; disjunct in equatorial regions (e.g., e Africa, Indonesia) and in the southern hemisphere (e.g., s South America).

Non-scapose genera that were formerly included in Primulaceae ( Anagallis, Glaux, Lysimachia, Trientalis) have now been moved to Myrsinaceae (Källersjö et al. 2000, Trift et al. 2002, Cholewa and Kelso 2009). Many species in this family have a pronounced association with calcareous environments and are subsequently rather locally distributed within the province. Primulaceae contains a number of very showy species, and several genera have become important ornamentals in the horticultural trade (e.g., Primula, Dodecatheon).

Key to the Genera of Primulaceae

1a. Corolla lobes >2 times as long as the tube, sharply reflexed; stamens far exserted; filaments often at least partially connate (distinct in some species) .........................................................................Dodecatheon

1b. Corolla lobes less than twice as long as the tube, not reflexed; stamens included; filaments never connate…………………….........................2

2a. Calyces keeled (at least on the tube); plants densely cespitose (cushion-like) or mat-forming perennials with clusters of leaves at the bases of the scapes (rarely taprooted biennials), corollas rose-pink (fading to lavender, rarely to whitish).…...............................................Douglasia

2b. Calyces not keeled or only weakly keeled in fruit; plants taprooted annuals or perennials from fibrous roots or short rhizomes, or if mat-forming perennials (i.e., Androsace chamaejasme), then corollas white or pink-tinged with a yellow or pink throat..……………………….……………………………………………………………………………………...................................3

3a. Corollas constricted at the throat, magenta to lavender (rarely white), usually >7 mm across; plants never densely grey-hairy… ………………………………………………………...…………………………………………………..................................................Primula

3b. Corollas not constricted at the throat, white (sometimes fading pinkish in A. chamaejasme), usually <5 mm across (if >5 mm, then plants densely grey-hairy)…….……….......................................................……Androsace


Source: The Vascular Flora of British Columbia, draft 2014.
Author: Jamie Fenneman

Genus Information

Mat-forming to densely cespitose, scapose perennial forbs from a branched caudex (rarely taprooted biennials). Scapes hairy, hairs both branched and stellate. Leaves in multiple basal rosettes (rarely single rosette), obscurely petiolate, surfaces hairy to glabrous, usually ciliate. Inflorescences terminal, usually bracteate umbel, or flowers solitary. Flowers sessile to short-stalked, pink to magenta (sometimes fading to white), sometimes with a yellow throat; corolla salverform, 5-lobed; calyces campanulate, keeled, 5-lobed; stamens included; anthers yellow. Capsules globose, 5-valvate. 10 spp. (2 spp. in B.C.); nw North America, e Asia.

Many species in this attractive genus, which is centred in two discrete areas of northwestern North America (Alaska-Yukon, northwestern United States), are narrow endemics. Most species inhabit subalpine or alpine areas, and are rare at lower elevations. Douglasia is closely related to Androsace, differing primarily in flower colour and growth habit. Recent molecular-genetic studies have shown convincingly that the genus is derived from within the Eurasian-American clade of Androsace (Schneeweiss et al. 2004, Boucher et al. 2011) and, as such, should be included within that genus to preserve its monophyly; however, it is a morphologically distinctive group that has traditionally been recognized separately, and it is treated as such here. In addition to the two species that are confirmed for B.C., three other Douglasia species have in the past been reported for the province, although all remain unconfirmed; see the accounts of D. gormanii and D. laevigata for additional information on these species.


Source: The Vascular Flora of British Columbia, draft 2014.
Author: Jamie Fenneman

Climate

The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Douglasia laevigata var. ciliolata Constance

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

General References