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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Caulerpa cactoides (Turner) C. Agardh.

Phylum Chlorophyta – Order Caulerpales – Family Caulerpaceae

Selected citations: Harvey 1858: pl. 26. Lucas 1936: 48. Weber van Bosse 1898: 390. Womersley 1956: 365.

Stolon very coarse, (2–) 3–5 mm in diameter, naked, epilithic or in a sandy mud substrate. Erect fronds (Fig. 9IA) medium to dark green, with simple or occasionally branched axes. usually 10–25 (–40) cm high and 1–3 (–5) cm across, with the axis 2–5 (–7) mm in diameter bearing opposite (occasionally alternate) distichously arranged vesiculate ramuli; lower part of axes usually bare and constricted in rough-water plants but not in calm-water plants, upper axis usually constricted above the pairs of ramuli. Ramuli (Fig. 92C) usually clavate, sometimes sub-pyriform, (0.7–) 1–2 (–3) cm long and 3–8 (–10) mm in diameter, thick walled (especially in rough-water plants).

Type from "southern coast of Australia" (R. Brown); in BM.

Selected specimens: Champion Bay, W. Aust. (Kraft 1904, 8.vii.1966; MELU). Seven mile beach, N. of Dongara, W. Aust., 0.5–2 m deep (Kirkman, 17.ix.1979; ADU, A51297). Hopetoun, W. Aust., upper sublittoral ( Wollaston, 20.ii.1957; ADU, A22155). Kellidie Bay, Coffin Bay, S. Aust., 3–4 m deep (Taylor, 5.xii.1975; ADU, A46706). Penguin 1., Beachport, S. Aust., 1–3 m deep (Lewis, 11.vi.1973; ADU, A43586). Carpenter Rocks, S. Aust., upper sublittoral pools (Wotnersley, 5.ii.1970; ADU, A35181-"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 6). Walkerville, Vic., at low tide, edge of bluff (Sinkora A1510, 21.ii.1972; ADU, A42292). East Beach, Low Head, Tas. (Perrin & Lucas, Jan. 1930; ADU, A9056).

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

Distribution: From Champion Bay, W. Aust. around southern Australia and Tasmania to the Richmond R. mouth, N.S.W. Common in rock pools on rough-water coasts and in the upper sublittoral on both rough-water and sheltered coasts where it may cover extensive areas in a sandy mud substrate (e.g. parts of Coffin Bay, S. Aust. and Westernport Bay, Vic.). Recorded to 38 m deep.

Taxonomic notes: C. cactoides is a distinctive species, though the shape and size of the ramuli vary considerably in different ecological situations.


HARVEY, W.H. (1858). Phycologia Australica. Vol. 1, Plates 1–60. (Reeve: London.)

LUCAS, A.H.S. (1936). The Seaweeds of South Australia. Pt. I. Introduction and the Green and Brown Seaweeds. (Govt Printer: Adelaide.)

WEBER van BOSSE, A. (1898). Monographie des Caulerpes. Ann. Jardin Bot. Buitenzorg 15, 243–401, Plates 20–34.

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 91A, 92C.

Figure 91 image

Figure 91   enlarge

Fig. 91. A. Caulerpa cactoides (ADU, A43586). B. Caulerpa racemosa var. laetevirens f. cylindracea (ADU. A50562). C. Caulerpa papillosa (ADV. A26451). D. Caulerpa vesiculifera (ADV. A32487). E. Caulerpa simpliciuscula (ADU, A32488).

Figure 92 image

Figure 92   enlarge

Fig. 92. A. Caulerpa geminata, ramuli on axis (ADU, A50951). B. Caulerpa annulata, ramuli on axis (ADU, A48232). C. Caulerpa cactoides, lower axis with ramuli, on stolon (ADU, A43586). D. Caulerpa racemosa var. laetevirens f. cylindracea, ramuli (ADU, A50562). E. Caulerpa papillosa, cross section of axis with ramuli (ADU, A26451). F. Caulerpa vesiculifera, cross section of axis with ramuli (ADU, A32487). G. Caulerpa simpliciuscula cross section of axis with ramuli (ADU, A32488).

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