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

Androsace septentrionalis L.
northern fairy-candelabra (pygmyflower rockjasmine)
Primulaceae

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Kevin deBoer  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #26724)

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Distribution of Androsace septentrionalis
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Species Information

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General:
Plants annual or biennial, taprooted.
Stems:
Scapes 1-5 (10) per plant, glabrescent to moderately hairy with branched hairs (sometimes glandular), 3-25 cm tall.
Leaves:
Leaves in a single basal rosette, oblanceolate to spatulate, 5-30 mm long and 3-10 mm wide, entire to sharply toothed towards the apex, margins often ciliate, surfaces glabrescent to hairy with straight hairs.
Flowers:
Inflorescences of 3-25 flowers; involucral bracts linear-lanceolate to narrowly lanceolate, not leaf-like, 3-6 mm. Flowers long-stalked; corollas tubular, white, slightly exceeding the calyces, 1-3 mm wide; calyces narrowly campanulate, prominently keeled, glabrescent to finely short-hairy, lobes triangular and shorter than the tube, 2.5-5 mm; pedicels erect to spreading, unequal, usually much longer than the calyces, 3-60 mm. Flowering Apr-Jun Jun (to Aug at high elevations).
Fruits:
Capsules globose or subglobose, about equalling the calex, 5-valvate.
Notes:
A polymorphic species, both as to hairiness and stature, but not easily separated into natural infraspecific taxa.

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

Habitat / Range

Moist to dry meadows, open slopes, grasslands, and disturbed areas in the steppe, montane, boreal, parkland, subalpine, and alpine zones. Frequent in BC in and east of the Coast-Cascade Mts., rare in sw BC (Vancouver I.); south to CA, AZ, NM, TX; Greenland; Eurasia.

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

Additional Notes

This is a highly polymorphic species, and several infraspecific taxa have been recognized in the past. Subspecies that have been attributed to B.C. include ssp. subulifera, ssp. subumbellata, and ssp. puberulenta (Robbins 1944); however, most or all of the variation is apparently attributable to environmentally-induced phenotypic plasticity rather than underlying genetic factors (Inouye et al. 2003) and, as a result, only a single variable taxon is recognized here. Plants are especially variable in size, stature, shape of the calyx lobes, pubescence, and presence of glands. This is one of few annual species that occurs naturally in the alpine zone, where the plants are usually dwarfed and stunted relative to lower elevation populations; some high elevation plants may persist for more than one year.

Source: The Vascular Flora of British Columbia, draft version February 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

Annual or biennial, taprooted herbs or perennial, mat-forming herbs from a branched caudex. Scapes erect, solitary or several per plant, often elongating with age. Leaves obscurely stalked, hairy to sometimes glabrescent. Inflorescences terminal, bracteates, umbellate; branches often elongating with age. Flowers short- to long-stalked; corollas tubular to salverform, not constricted at the throat, white, sometimes with a yellow or pinkish centre, 5-lobed; calyces hemispheric to campanulate, 5-lobed; stamens included; ovary superior. Capsules globose or subglobose, about equalling the calyx, 5-valvate. About 100 spp. (3 spp. in B.C.); North America, Mexico, Eurasia.

This genus is centred in Eurasia, with few representatives in the New World. It is apparently paraphyletic without the inclusion of species that are currently placed in Douglasia (Schneeweiss et al. 2004, Boucher et al. 2012, Roquet et al. 2013), but that genus is retained as distinct here due to its unique morphology; see the account of Douglasia for more information. The genus is composed of two deeply divergent clades (Boucher et al. 2012, Roquet et al. 2013), although the morphological variation within each of these clades exceeds that which exists between them, making it difficult to identify any morphological characteristics that consistently separate the clades. A. occidentalis and A. septentrionalis (as well as the genus Douglasia) represent a European-American clade, while A. chamaejasme represents a Central Asian clade, with the divergence between these clades estimated at ca. 34 million years. This ancient divergence suggests that the two clades may warrant recognition as separate genera or, at least, subgenera.


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

Ecology

Ecological Framework for Androsace septentrionalis

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) 275 1289 2682
Slope Gradient (%) 0 33 130
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
10 186 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 5
Modal Nutrient Regime
Class
C
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
195
Modal BEC Zone Class
BG
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(16), BAFA(5), BG(62), BWBS(11), ESSF(34), ICH(2), IDF(30), IMA(9), MS(1), PP(5), SWB(9)

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

Androsace septentrionalis var. septentrionalis L.
Androsace septentrionalis var. subumbellata A. Nelson

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References