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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Caulerpa longifolia forma crispata (Harvey) Womersley 1950: 147; 1956: 368.

Phylum Chlorophyta – Order Caulerpales – Family Caulerpaceae

Stolon relatively slender to coarse, (0.5–) 1–2 (–3.5) mm in diameter, naked, epilithic. Erect fronds (Fig. 88B) medium green, simple or with a few, often clustered (sometimes from several cm up the erect axis), branches 5–30 cm high and 0.5- l(–2) cm across; axes terete, naked near their base, bearing irregularly placed (occasionally partly in rows), slender, upwardly incurved, terete, ramuli (Fig. 89B) 0.5–1 (–3) cm long and 200–300 µm in diameter, tapering near their apices to a blunt or shortly spinous tip.

Type from Port Phillip Heads, Vic. (Harvey); in TCD.

Selected specimens: 3 km W. of Whitfords Beach, Perth, W. Aust., 6 m deep (Kirkman, 11.xii.1979; ADU, A50856-"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 226). Garden I., W. Aust., in pools on west reefs (Smith, Nov. 1946: UWA 116, ADU, A4556). Hamelin Bay, W. Aust., uppermost sublittoral (Womersley, Lix.1979; ADU, A50609). Pearson I., S. Aust., 20–25 m deep and 35 m deep (Shepherd, 7.i.1969; ADU, A33649 and A34035 resp.). Off Troubridge Light (Edithburgh), S. Aust., 18 m deep (Shepherd, 4.ii.1969; ADU, A33558). Slipway Reef, Robe, S. Aust., rock pools (Tugwell, 25.v.1963; ADU, A26436). Pennington Bay, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., in pools (Womersley, 26.xii.1948; ADU, A10506). Kirk Point, Port Phillip, Vic., drift, ( Womersley, 11.viii.1970; ADU, A36022). Great Taylor Bay, Bruny I., Tas., 9 m deep (Shepherd, 14.ii.1972; ADU, A42101).

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

Distribution: From Whitfords Beach, Perth, W. Aust. to Waratah Bay, Vic. and around Tasmania. In rock pools on rough-water coasts and also in sheltered bays (e.g. Port Phillip). Recorded to 40 m deep.

Taxonomic notes: This form is often slenderer than that typical of the species, and differs in having the ramuli irregularly arranged, not in rows; they are also more incurved. As Harvey (1959a, pl. 95) noted, f. crispata often appears specifically distinct from C. longifolia but intergrades (even on one plant) do occur. It may be in part an ecological variant but probably with some genotypic differences. The Western Australian plants (as cited above) and some South Australian (e.g A33558) also differ in that each erect axis produces a cluster of branches several cm (2–12) above the base, while most specimens from eastern southern Australia have the erect axes simple or only occasionally branched. In other aspects these western plants appear to be very similar to f. crispata.


WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1950). The marine algae of Kangaroo Island. III. List of species 1. Trans R. Soc. S. Aust. 73, 137–197.

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 88B, 89B.

Figure 88 image

Figure 88   enlarge

Fig. 88. A. Caulerpa longifolia (ADU, A39569). B. Caulerpa longifolia f. crispata (ADU, A34035). C. Caulerpa trifaria (ADU, A33516). D. Caulerpa brownii(ADU, A26535). E. Caulerpa brownii (ADU, A46864). F. Caulerpa cliftonii(ADU, A34037). G. Caulerpa obscura (ADU, A38574). H. Caulerpa hedleyi (ADU, A38175).

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).

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