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

Trientalis europaea L.
Arctic Starflower (northern starflower)
Myrsinaceae (Myrsine family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Val George  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #71121)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Trientalis europaea
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SUBTAXA PRESENT IN BC
Trientalis europaea ssp. arctica

Species Information

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General:
Plants from a slender rhizome and a short, scarcely enlarged, horizontal tuber.
Stems:
Stems 5-20 cm tall.
Leaves:
Leaves mostly whorled or densely crowded near the stem apex; primary leaves 3-8, lanceolate to oblanceolate or spatulate, widest at or above the midpoint, apices acute to rounded, 2-6 cm; stem leaves reduced in size, alternate, 0.2-2 cm
Flowers:
Flowers 1-2 per plant; corollas usually white (sometimes faintly pink-tinged), 5-9 mm wide; corolla lobes ovate to lanceolate, apices acute to acuminate; pedicels equalling or longer than the leaves, sparsely to densely glandular, 1.5-5.5 cm. Flowering (Apr) May-Jul (Aug)
Fruits:
Fruits globose capsules, valvate; seeds black to reddish-brown, with a deciduous, white, net-like coating.

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

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet bogs, swamps, streambanks, meadows, and coniferous forests in the lowland, montane, and subalpine zones. Frequent in coastal, nw, and se BC; AK east to NWT, south to CA, ID; Eurasia.

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

Additional Notes

Trientalis europaea is somewhat variable throughout its circumboreal distribution, with minor variants able to persist at the population level through rhizomatous apomixis. Although this variation occurs throughout the range of the species, the species has generally been recognized as comprising two subspecies: a primarily Eurasian ssp. europaea (which apparently ranges into central Alaska) and a primarily North American ssp. arctica (Elven et al. 2013). Although the characteristics that separate these subspecies (leaf shape, leaf number, pedicel glands) are relatively minor, it is the best and most widely accepted approach for representing the variation in this species.

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

Family Information

Annual or perennial herbs from fibrous roots, a taproot, a horizontal rhizome, or a small tuber (or a greatly enlarged tuber in Cyclamen); plants often with secretory resin canals that appear as dark dots or streaks. Stems trailing to erect, solitary to several, branched or simple. Leaves generally cauline (all basal in Cyclamen), alternate or opposite (sometimes whorled or pseudowhorled). Inflorescences variable, ranging from solitary axillary flowers or axillary whorls to stalked axillary racemes, terminal or axillary panicles, or erect terminal racemes. Flowers bisexual, usually stalked; corollas usually radially symmetric (sometimes lacking), rotate or campanulate to funneliform, (4-) 5- to 9-lobed; calyces (4-) 5- to 9-lobed; stamens (4-) 5-9; filaments distinct or connate; ovary superior; styles 1. Fruit a capsule, valvate or circumcissile; seeds usually brown or reddish-brown to black. Genera ~50, species ~1400 (5 genera, 12 species in B.C.). Nearly worldwide, except absent from many deserts and polar regions.

The genera here were all formerly included within a broadly-defined Primulaceae, but have since been moved to the closely related Myrsinaceae following recent molecular-genetic studies that have shown strong support for their inclusion in the latter family (Källersjö et al. 2000, Trift et al. 2002, Cholewa et al. 2009). All genera in B.C., with the exception of the genus Cyclamen, are apparently derived from within the large, highly paraphyletic genus Lysimachia (Hao et al. 2004, Anderberg et al. 2007), at least in its broadest sense, and some authors prefer to treat some or all of these genera as members of that genus so as to preserve its monophyly; however, most published phylogenies of the group (e.g., Hao et al. 2004, Manns and Anderberg 2005, Anderberg et al. 2007) suggest that it consists of a number of well-supported individual clades that might be better recognized as genera. Although such an approach would result in the redistribution of some Lysimachia species into new genera, it seems to best represent the systematics of the group and, as a result, it is the approach that is followed in this treatment (i.e., recognition of Steironema, Anagallis, and Trientalis as separate from Lysimachia). Several species of Cyclamen and Lysimachia are grown as ornamentals in southern British Columbia, including the naturalized species Cyclamen hederifolium, Lysimachia punctata, L. nummularia, and L. vulgaris.

Key to the Genera of Myrsinaceae

1a. Corolla lobes sharply reflexed; plants scapose, from a greatly enlarged, round, flattened tuber; leaves all basal, arising directly from the tuber………………………………………………………………………………………………..Cyclamen

1b. Corollas usually rotate or campanulate to funneliform, but corolla lobes never sharply reflexed; plants not scapose, from fibrous roots, short rhizomes, or small, slightly enlarged, ascending or horizontal tubers; leaves all cauline……………..……...........2

2a. Plants annual (rarely perennial); fibrous-rooted to taprooted…………….……………………………...………..….....…Anagallis

2b. Plants perennial; from rhizome or a small, slightly thickened, horizontal to ascending tuber…………...…………………...........….4

4a. Corollas yellow……..……………………………………………...……………………………………………..…………5

5a. Flowers solitary, axillary; stems erect; leaves ovate to broadly lanceolate…………………..…………….....….Steironema

5b. Flowers usually in terminal or axillary racemes or axillary whorls, if solitary and axillary then stems creeping and leaves nearly orbicular……………………………………………………………………………………..……Lysimachia (in part)

4b. Corollas whitish to pinkish, or corollas absent and calyces instead corolla-like and whitish or pinkish…...………….…..…......6

6a. Plants succulent, glaucous; leaves distributed throughout the stems; flowers sessile; corollas absent; calyx lobes whitish or pinkish, corolla-like; plants restricted to saline or alkaline habitats…….…….…….…………...……...Lysimachia (in part)

6b. Plants not succulent, not glaucous; leaves mostly in a single pseudowhorl at top of the stem (stem leaves reduced or scale-like); flowers long-stalked; corollas present; calyces green, not corolla like; plants widespread in terrestrial and some wetland habitats, but never associated with saline or alkaline habitats……………………...……………………..Trientalis


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

Genus Information

Perennial herbs, from slender or tuberous rhizomes. Stems erect, simple, glabrous. Leaves mostly in a terminal whorl or cluster (primary leaves), dimorphic, sessile to short-stalked; primary leaves lanceolate to broadly obovate or spatulate, entire, glabrous; stem leaves reduced or scale-like. Flowers long-stalked, solitary, axillary in uppermost leaves. Flowers 1-several per plant; corollas rotate, 5- to 9-lobed, white to pinkish; calyces green, deeply 5- to 9-lobed, the lobes linear-lanceolate to lanceolate; stamens 5-9; filaments partly connate. Fruits globose capsules, valvate; seeds black to reddish-brown, with a deciduous, white, net-like coating. 3 spp. (2 spp. in B.C.). North America, Eurasia.

Species of Trientalis are all very closely related, and the number of species recognized in the genus has ranged from one to four in the past. It is closely related to Lysimachia, and, like several other genera in Myrsinaceae, its recognition make traditional circumscriptions of that genus paraphyletic; monophyly in Lysimachia and Trientalis is apparently maintained with the recognition of Steironema (Manns and Anderberg 2005), as is done here. Note that, in this treatment, the leaves that comprise the pseudowhorl subtending the inflorescence are termed primary leaves, while the reduced leaves below this pseudowhorl are termed stem leaves.


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

Ecology

Ecological Framework for Trientalis europaea

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class

Minimum

Average

Maximum

Elevation (metres) 9 778 1820
Slope Gradient (%) 0 9 75
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
8 292 353
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 5 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Class
C
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
119
Modal BEC Zone Class
CWH
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BWBS(3), CWH(41), ESSF(7), ICH(17), IDF(2), MH(4), MS(1), SBS(34)

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

General References