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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Bryopsis plumosa (Hudson) C. Agardh.

Phylum Chlorophyta – Order Derbesiales – Family Bryopsidaceae

Selected citations: Harvey 1846: pl. 3. Kylin 1949: 66, fig. 64. MacRaild 1974: 158. Richardson 1982: 177. Rietema 1975: 8. Womersley 1956: 364.


B. pennata Lamouroux, sensu Womersley 1956: 364.

Thallus (Fig. 97A) broadly spreading, 2–15 (–25) cm high, with several to numerous axes arising from a branched, rhizoidal, basal system, usually epilithic. Axes essentially distichously branched (Fig. 96C), less so below, with lower laterals elongating progressively towards the base and often themselves becoming pinnate, usually naked below (scars inconspicuous or slight). Axes 300–1000 µm in diameter below, laterals 200–400 µm in diameter, and ramuli (1–) 2–5 mm long and (70–) 90–130 µm in diameter, tapering only slightly.

Reproduction: Reproduction: Thalli dioecious, anisogamous; sporophytes only known in culture, protonemal and uninucleate, producing stephanokontic zoospores which produce the normal gametophyte plant.

Type from Exmouth, England; apparently lost.

Selected specimens: Rottnest I., W. Aust. (Phitson, Oct. 1934; ADU, A50051-"South Pacific Plants" No. 35). Redbanks, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., eulittoral pool (Womersley, 28.xii.1949; ADU, A12871). 6 km N. of St Kilda, S. Aust., 1 m deep (Steffensen, 11.ix.1975; ADU, A46524). Nora Creina, S. Aust., uppermost sublittoral in bay ( Womersley, 25.viii.1973; ADU, A43931). Kirk Point, Port Phillip, Vic., drift ( Womersley, 11.viii.1970; ADU, A36029). Low Head, Tas. (Perrin, August 1948; ADU, A47086).

Distribution map based
on current data relating to
specimens held in the
State Herbarium of SA

Distribution: Widespread in temperate waters throughout the world.

Common in sheltered to moderate water movement localities all along southern Australia.

Taxonomic notes: The variation in southern Australian B. plumosa has been discussed by MacRaild (1974). Specimens vary considerably in robustness in different habitats and the branching is often variable; at least near the apices it is clearly distichous, and in most plants this is apparent, though less so, in the lower branching. Many collections agree well with European material.

B. pennata Lamouroux was recorded from Coffin Bay, South Australia by Womersley (1956, p. 364). This collection is similar to plants of this species from the West Indies and slenderer than most B. plumosa, but for the present it is referred to the latter species. Several variable forms of Bryopsis occur in Coffin Bay.


HARVEY, W.H. (1846). Phycologia Britannica. Plates 1–72. (Reeve: London.)

KYLIN, H. (1949). Die Chlorophyceen der Swedischen Westküste. Lunds Univ. Årsskr. N.F. Avd. 2, 45(4), 1–79.

MacRAILD, G.N. (1974). The taxonomy, life history and cytology of Bryopsis and related genera from southern Australia. (Ph.D. thesis, Univ. Melbourne.)

RICHARDSON, J.P. (1982). Life history of Bryopsis plumosa (Hudson) Agardh (Chlorophyceae) in North Carolina, U.S.A. Bot. Mar. 25, 177–183.

RIETEMA, H. (1975). Comparative investigations on the life-histories and reproduction of some species in the siphoneous green algal genera Bryopsis and Derbesia. (Univ. Groningen.)

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1956). A critical survey of the marine algae of southern Australia. I. Chlorophyta. Aust. J. mar. freshw. Res. 7, 343–383.

The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia Part I complete list of references.

Author: H.B.S. Womersley

Publication: Womersley, H.B.S. (31 May, 1984)
The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia
Part I
©Board of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium, Government of South Australia

Illustrations in Womersley Part I, 1984: FIGS 96C, 97A.

Figure 96 image

Figure 96   enlarge

Fig. 96. A,B. Bryopsis vestita (ADU, A39538). A. Axis with laterals and ramuli. B. Lateral with irregularly arranged ramuli. C. Bryopsis plumosa, part of axis with distichous ramuli (ADU, A43931). D,E. Bryopsis australis. D. Axis with bilateral ramuli in displaced rows (ADU, A34391). E. Axis with unilateral ramuli (ADU, A50705).

Figure 97 image

Figure 97   enlarge

Fig. 97. A. Bryopsis plumosa (ADU, A53203), same scale as C. B. Bryopsis australis (ADU, A50705). C. Bryopsis gemellipara (ADU, A53202).

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