Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Caulerpa trifaria Harvey 1863: pl. 261.

Phylum Chlorophyta – Order Caulerpales – Family Caulerpaceae

Selected citations: Lucas 1936: 39, fig. 20. Weber van Bosse 1898: 229. Womersley 1956: 371.

Stolon usually moderately slender, 0.7–1.5 mm in diameter, bearing scattered, short spines about 0.5 mm long, epilithic, on jetty piles or in sandy mud substrate. Erect fronds (Fig. 88C) medium green, with simple or occasionally branched axes, usually 5–25 cm high and 4–12 mm across; axes terete, 400–600 (–700) µm in diameter, with short spinous ramuli near their base, above bearing 3 (2 when juvenile or rarely on mature fronds) regular rows of slender, terete ramuli. Ramuli (Fig. 89C) separted by less than their basal width, 3–5 (–9) mm long and 200–300 µm in diameter, terete, with a slight to moderate upward curve, tapering close to their apices to a short spinous tip.

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

Selected specimens: Cottesloe, W. Aust., on reef (Smith, 12.viii.1944; ADU, A2089). Inside Tapley Shoal, Gulf St Vincent, S. Aust., 18 m deep (Shepherd, 2.ii.1969; ADU, A33516-"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 12). Port Noarlunga, S. Aust., 3–4 m deep (Bergstrom & Owen, 7.i.1971; ADU, A37792). Lonsdale Bight, Port Phillip, Vic. (Macpherson 331, 21.v.1961; ADU, A28158). Marion Bay, Tas., 6 m deep (Shepherd, 13.ii.1970; ADU A35624). Great Taylor Bay, Bruny 1., Tas., 2–5 and 19 m deep (Shepherd, 14.ii.1972; ADU, A42114 and A42151 resp.).

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

Distribution: From Cottesloe, W. Aust. to Western Port, Vic. and around Tasmania; usually confined to moderately sheltered to calm water, 2–31 m deep.

Taxonomic notes: C. trifaria is a distinctive species with normally three rows of slender ramuli. Juvenile plants (less than 3 cm high) often have only two rows of ramuli, but develop three rows as they mature. Some specimens from Great Taylor Bay, Bruny Island, Tasmania (A42 114 and A42151, cited above) have distichous ramuli on the lower 6–10 cm, becoming tristichous above.


HARVEY, W.H. (1863). Phycologia Australica. Vol. 5, Plates 241–300, synop., pp. 1–73. (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 88C, 89C.

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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