Stephen J. Darbyshire
Plants perennial; rhizomatous. Culms 5-80
cm. Sheaths closed for 1/2-2/3 of their length, glabrous; auricles absent; ligules membranous,
glabrous, truncate; blades flat or folded, usually glabrous,
sometimes scabrous or shortly pubescent adaxially. Inflorescences panicles,
diffuse to dense and spikelike, with few spikelets; branches smooth,
stiff, erect to reflexed, secondary branches usually appressed. Spikelets pedicellate,
slightly laterally compressed; florets 1-4(5), distal florets
sterile; rachillas prolonged beyond the uppermost floret or
terminating in a vestigial floret, glabrous; disarticulation above
the glumes and beneath the fertile florets. Glumes subequal,
equaling or usually exceeding the distal florets, ovate and obtuse
to lanceolate-attenuate, membranous, glabrous, 1-3-veined; calluses short,
blunt, with a ring of stiff hairs, hairs to about 1 mm; lemmas ovate
to ovate-lanceolate, membranous to coriaceous, glabrous or pubescent,
with 3(5) fine veins, apices acute to acuminate, midveins sometimes
excurrent as a mucro or awn to 1(2.2) mm; paleas shorter than
the lemmas, glabrous, sometimes scabrous on the veins; lodicules 2,
membranous, glabrous; anthers 3; ovaries glabrous. Caryopses falling
free of the lemma and palea; hila 1/6-1/3 the length of the
caryopses, ovate. x = not clear, 7 or 11. Named after the early
nineteenth century French botanist J.D. Dupont.
Dupontia is a monotypic genus of arctic and subarctic wetlands, found throughout the holarctic region except in Scandinavia. Hybrids with Arctophila are referred to ×Arctodupontia; hybrids with Poa eminens are referred to ×Dupoa.
1. Dupontia fisheri R. Br.
Fisher's Tundragrass, Dupontie de Fisher
Rhizomes 1-3 mm thick, nodes with whorls of roots. Culms 5-80 cm, erect, glabrous. Ligules of lower leaves 0.4-3 mm; ligules of flag leaves 1-4(5.5) mm, usually lacerate; blades 1-13 cm long, 1-4 mm wide. Panicles 2.5-18 cm long, 1-6 cm wide. Spikelets 4-8.5(9) mm; rachilla internodes 1-1.5 mm. Glumes 4-8.5(9) mm; lemmas 3-6.5 mm; paleas 2.8-6 mm; anthers 1.5-3.5 mm. Caryopses 1.5-3 mm. 2n = 42, 44, 66, 84, 88, 132.
Dupontia fisheri grows in wet meadows, wet tundra, marshes, and along streams and the edges of lagoons, ponds, and lake shores, in sand, silt, clay, and moss, rarely in bogs. It is sometimes dominant, or co-dominant, with Alopecurus borealis.
Two subspecies are sometimes recognized in North America. Dupontia fisheri R. Br. subsp. fisheri supposedly differs from subsp. psilosantha (Rupr.) Hultén in being less than 40 cm tall, having erect panicle branches, 2-4 florets per spikelet, pubescent, obtuse lemmas, and 2n = 84, 88, or 132. Dupontia fisheri subsp. psilosantha is taller, has reflexed panicle branches, 1-2 florets per spikelet, more or less glabrous, acute lemmas, and 2n = 42 or 44. Plants referable to subsp. psilosantha are restricted to coastal marshes, rarely penetrating inland along riparian habitats, from James Bay to the lower arctic archipelago. Plants referable to subsp. fisheri are less halophytic and more northerly in their distribution, being found in a variety of inland marshes and wet tundra habitats from northern Alaska to Ellesmere Island. Intermediates are readily found (e.g., hexaploid, 2n = 66 hybrids from Alaska) and the correlations among chromosome number, morphology, ecology, and distribution are relatively weak in North America and Greenland. For these reasons, no subspecific taxa are recognized in this treatment.