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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Caulerpa flexilis Lamouroux 1813: 283, pl. 13 fig. 3.

Phylum Chlorophyta – Order Caulerpales – Family Caulerpaceae

Selected citations: Womersley 1956: 366.


C. hypnoides C. Agardh. Harvey 1859a: pl. 84. Lucas 1936: 44, fig. 27. Weber van Bosse 1898: 342, pl. 29.

Stolon robust, (2–) 3–4 (–6) mm in diameter, densely covered with small, 2–4 times furcate, ramuli each 150–500 µm long and 80–120 µm thick near their base, tapering to spinous (often bifid) apices, epilithic. Erect primary fronds (Fig. 90A) dark green, with simple or occasionally branched axes, usually 5–40 cm high and 2–6 cm across, largely to strictly alternately distichously branched with prominent, lax, second-order laterals usually 1–6 cm long and 2–4 mm across, bearing crowded ramuli on all sides. Ramuli (Fig. 89G) covering all parts of the primary fronds and the second-order laterals on all sides, bifurcate near their bases, 1–3 mm long and (150–) 200–300 (–350) µm in diameter, terete, apically directed and slightly upwardly curved, tapering near their apices to 1–3 small, single or bifid, apical spines.

Type from Esperance, W. Aust. (Labillardière); in CN.

Selected specimens: Green I., Rottnest I., W. Aust., 1–1.5 m deep (Clarke & Engler, 6.ix.1979; ADU, A51062). Point Avoid, Eyre Pen., S. Aust., drift ( Womersley, 2.xii.1975; ADU, A46868). Pearson I., S. Aust., 30–32 m deep (Shepherd, 7.i.1969; ADU, A33676). American R. inlet, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., 2–4 m deep (Womersley, 22.viii.1963; ADU, A26843-"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 7). Robe, S. Aust., rock pools (Tugwell, 25.v.1963; ADU, A26439). Gabo I., Vic., 28 m deep (Shepherd, 19.ii.1973; ADU, A43529). Fluted Cape, Bruny I., Tas., 23 m deep (Shepherd, 12.ii.1972; ADU, A41908).

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

Distribution: From Geraldton, W. Aust., to Collaroy, N.S.W. and around Tasmania. New Zealand (North Island). Common in rock pools and the upper sublittoral on rough-water and moderately sheltered coasts; recorded to 40 m deep.


HARVEY, W.H. (1859a). Phycologia Australica. Vol. 2, Plates 61–120. (Reeve: London.)

LAMOUROUX, J.V.F. (1813). Essai sur les genres de la famille des thalassiophytes non articulées. Ann. Mus. His. Nat. Paris 20, 21–47, 115–139, 267–293, Plates 7–13.

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 89G, 90A.

Figure 89 image

Figure 89   enlarge

Fig. 89. A. Caulerpa longifolia, ramuli (ADU, A39569). B. Caulerpa longifolia f. crispata, ramuli (ADU, A34035). C. Caulerpa trifaria, ramuli (ADU, A33516). D. Caulerpa brownii, ramuli (ADU, A26535). E. Caulerpa cliftonii, branched ramulus (ADU, A34037). F. Caulerpa obscura, secondary lateral with ramuli (FI) and apex of ramulus (F2) (ADU, A38574). G. Caulerpa flexilis, ramuli (ADU, A46868). H. Caulerpa hedleyi, ramuli on axis (HI) and single ramulus (H2) (ADU, A38175).

Figure 90 image

Figure 90   enlarge

Fig. 90. A. Caulerpa flexilis (ADU, A46868). B. Caulerpa flexilis var. muelleri (ADU, A44576). C. Caulerpa geminata (ADU, A34106). D. Caulerpa annulata (ADU, Al2226).

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