Arctic Daisy – Chrysanthemum arcticum

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Alaska Wildflowers | White

Arctic Daisy

Chrysanthemum arcticum

Common Names

Arctic daisy
Northern chrysanthemum

Synonyms

None

Subspecies

Chrysanthemum arcticum ssp. arcticum*
Chrysanthemum arcticum ssp. polare*
Both subspecies are actually listed as separate species by ITIS, although they are almost always cited as subspecies to C. arcticum.

Genus: Chrysanthemum (daisy)
Family: Asteraceae/Compositae (Aster family
Order: Asterales
full classification

Duration – Growth Habit

Perennial – Forb/herb, subshrub


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Identification and Information

The arctic daisy (Chrysanthemum arcticum) is a 10-45 cm (4-18 in) tall perennial herb. It grows from a thick creeping rhizome. The plant usually only has a few erect stems or may be single-stemmed. Basal leaves are glabrous, dark green, with 3-7 blunt-toothed lobes. Leaves located distally on the stems are linear and smaller. The synflorescence may have 1-5 flowering heads with white ray florets and yellow disk florets. The ray florets are 1-2 cm in length and fairly broad (3.5 mm).

RCS PLANTS Database

The basal leaf blades of Chrysanthemum arcticum ssp. arcticum are more fan-shaped to cuneate. Chrysanthemum arcticum ssp. polare is typically single-flowered, shorter, and unbranched.

There may also be some confusion with Dendranthemum arcticum which was originally listed as a synonym to Chrysanthemum arcticum ssp. arcticum, thought to be a subspecies of C. arcticum, which is currently listed by the Integrated Taxonomic Information System as a separate species Arcanthemum arcticum. Many other sources such as NatureServe Explorer and GBIF list D. arcticum as a synonym to C. arcticum. If this seems confusing, it’s because it is. Maybe these are two different species, maybe they are not. Regardless, they are at least extremely similar. It seems very possible that many of the Arctic Daisy specimens found in eastern North America are actually Arcanthemum arcticum (aka. Dendranthemum arcticum, aka Chrysanthemum arcticum ssp. arcticum). I’ve found no information on differences in chromosome number, and if the only difference is a slightly modified leaf shape, listing it as a completely separate species seems silly to me. But, admittedly, I am not a biologist so who am I to judge?

Uses

For information only (typically historical) – I take no responsibility for adverse effects from the use of any plant.

No documented food or medicinal uses for Chrysanthemum arcticum although the Chrysanthemum genus contains many flowers with a wide range of food and medicinal uses. Sometimes used as an ornamental flower.

Distribution and Habitat

The arctic daisy is native to Alaska, parts of Canada, and parts of New York and Massachussetts. It is also native to parts of Siberia, and Japan. Outside of Alaska, far-eastern Siberia, and Japan, appearance is very sporadic and not very populous. It’s worth noting that, despite appearing on the map, there was only one occurrence of C. arcticum in the Netherlands by GBIF.

Chrysanthemum arcticum lives in gravel, stony or sandy soil, and grassy patches in full sun.

Classification

RankScientific Name (Common Name)
KingdomPlantae (Plants)
SubkingdomTracheobionta (Vascular plants)
SuperdivisionSpermatophyta (Seed plants)
DivisionMagnoliophyta (Flowering plants)
ClassMagnoliopsida (Dicotyledons)
SubclassAsteridae
OrderAsterales
FamilyAsteraceae ⁄ Compositae (Aster family)
GenusChrysanthemum L. (daisy)
SpeciesChrysanthemum arcticum L. (arctic daisy)

References and Further Reading

Guidebook

Field Guide to Alaskan Wildflowers, Pratt, Verna E. pg 63

Classification and Taxonomy

Chrysanthemum arcticum  L. Taxonomic Serial No.: 35792, ITIS Database

Chrysanthemum arcticum L. arctic daisy, USDA Database

Map and Distribution

Chrysanthemum arcticum L., GBIF Database

Description and Information

6. Chrysanthemum arcticum Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 889. 1753., Flora of China

Dendranthema arcticum Arctic Daisy, NatureServe Explorer

Line Drawing
Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. Vol. 3: 518. Provided by Kentucky Native Plant Society.

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