Burnt Cape 04/07/12

Dwarf Hawksbeard (Crepis nana) - a tiny arctic plant growing on the limestone barrens at Burnt Cape. This is the only known site in which this species is known to grow south of the arctic circle. It can take 5-12 years to flower, after which it sets seed and dies. The inflorescence has 2 to 4 flower heads nestled close to the leaves and near the ground where the air is warmest. Each flower head has several yellow ray florets with a base of phyllaries tipped with hairs.
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Burnt Cape is classed as "Limestone Barrens" and is a very harsh environment with a rich flora. Subzero tepratures in mid summer are common, winds are strong and almost all plants are extremely stunted - there is a forest there of trees over 60 years of age, none of which come above waist height, most are much lower.
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Dwarf Hawksbeard (Crepis nana) - this photograph shows the previous species but at an earlier stage in its life cycle. This particular specimen is already several years old but has yet to flower. The hairless leaves are oval and sometimes have a few lobes along the edges.
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Alpine Bistort (Polygonum viparum). *Note - also photographed at Port-aux-Choix growing in a richer substrate with other plants (qv). Alpine Bistort is slow growing, with an individual leaf or inflorescence taking 3-4 years to reach maturity from the time it is formed. The bulbils are rich in starch and are a preferred food for Rock Ptarmigan and Reindeer;
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Alpine Chickweed (Cerastium alpinum) A species of mat forming perennial plant, native to Greenland, Canada and northern Europe
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Alpine Rockcress (Arabis alpina) A. alpina grows in damp gravels and screes, often over limestone. A member of the family Brassicaceae that grows in mountainous areas of Europe, north Africa, central and eastern Asia and parts of North America. Believed to have originated in Asia Minor about 2 million years ago. From there it migrated twice into East Africa (500,000 years ago). Another migration route lead A. alpina into Europe which was then colonised periglacially.
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Arctic Bladderpod (Lesquerella arctica) A perennial of the Brassica family. The leaves are covered by unusual stellate hairs (several hairs arising from a single spot on the leaf, diverging to form a star), easily visible with a hand lens. The yellow flowers are borne in loose racemes at the end of several widely-diverging flower stalks. The siliques (seedpods) are globular, resembling tiny balls each with the remains of the style at the tip, hence the common name of bladderpod.
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Arctic Willow (Salix vestia) ** (see also photograph at Porte-aux-choix )
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Fernald's Northern Rockcress (Braya fernaldii)
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Burnt Cape Cinquefoil (Potentilla usticapensis) Note hairy leaves
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