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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Caulocystis cephalornithos (Labillardière) Areschoug 1854: 335.

Phylum Phaeophyta – Order Fucales – Family Cystoseiraceae

Selected citations: Nizamuddin 1964c: 42–63. Womersley 1964: 102, figs 46,47, pl. 16.


Fucus cephalornithos Labillardière 1806: 114, pl. 261.

Cystophora cephalornithos (Labillardière) J. Agardh 1848: 246. Harvey 1859a: pl. 116.

Thallus (Pl. 8 fig. 1; Fig. 129B) medium to dark brown, 20–60 (–100) cm long, with a short stipe bearing 1–6 primary branches, each much branched with laterals of limited growth. Holdfast discoid, (0.5–) 1–2 cm across; epilithic. Primary branches terete, 1–3 (–4) mm in diameter, bearing irregularly radial and moderately densely arranged laterals 3–20 mm apart, giving the branch an elongate-conical shape, with occasional, relatively short, secondary branches from the lower branch axis, and scattered vesicles borne directly on the primary branch axis or on older laterals; branch axes becoming denuded basally, with residues 1–5 (–10) mm long; vesicles on a pedicel 5–10 mm long, elongate-ovoid to fusiform, tapering to both ends, 3–10 mm long and 2–4 (–5) mm in diameter, with an apical mucro or awn, or occasionally bearing a normal ramulus or receptacle. Lateral ramuli simple to much branched at intervals of 3–20 mm, usually 5–15 cm long, terete, (0.5–) 1–1.5 mm in diameter, with prominent cryptostomata. Growth from a single, three-sided, apical cell in an apical depression. Structure of a central, compact medulla of elongate cells with few hyphae, and a cortex of larger, isodiametric cells decreasing outwardly to the surface meristoderm.

Reproduction: Thallus monoecious. Receptacles (Fig. 132A) developed from upper ends of ramuli, usually simple, terete, smooth, 2–10 (–15) mm long and 1–2 mm in diameter, with scattered ostioles. Conceptacles (Fig. 132B) numerous, bisexual, basal columella slight to conspicuous, with some phaeophycean hairs and paraphyses; oogonia sessile, ovoid, 60–130 µm long and 40–80 um in diameter; antheridia sessile or on branched paraphyses, elongate-ovoid, 20–30 µm long and 6–10 µ in diameter.

Type from Cape Van Diemen (S.E. Tasmania) (Labillardière); in FI.

Selected specimens: Meelup, Cape Naturaliste, W. Aust., upper sublittoral (Mitchell, 23.ix.1966; ADU, A31172). Boston I., Port Lincoln, S. Aust., 3–5 m deep off N. end (Womersley, 28.ii.1959; ADU, A22537). N. Spencer Gulf, S. Aust., 0–1 m deep (Shepherd, 4.ix.1973; ADU, A44100). Aldinga, S. Aust., upper sublittoral pools (Womersley, 3.xii.1986; ADU, A57286) and drift (Womersley, 3.xi.1963; ADU, A26881). American R. inlet, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., upper sublittoral near head (Womersley, 24.i.1948; ADU, A6765). Blackfellows Caves, S. Aust., 2–3 m deep (Schmitz, 31.vii.1983; ADU, A54713). Double Corner Beach, Portland, Vic., drift (Beauglehole, 14.vii.1951; ADU, A21793). Sorrento, Vic., reef pools (Womersley, 2.vi.1953; ADU, A18815). Crawfish Rock, Westernport Bay, Vic., 0 m deep ( Watson, 29.v.1974; ADU, A44426). Sandy Cape, N.W. Tas., lower eulittoral pools (Bennett, 15.i.1954; ADU, A19719). Tesselated Pavement, Eaglehawk Neck, Tas., upper sublittoral ( Wollaston, 14.viii.1965; ADU, A29536). Stapleton Point, Prosser Bay, Tas., 0–3 m deep (Shepherd, 10.ii.1970; ADU, A35682). Crayfish Point, Taroona, Tas., 5 m deep (A. Brown, 24.x.1982; ADU, A55768). Broulee, N.S.W., in rock pools (Rick, Aug. 1963; ADU, A27465).

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

Distribution: From Cape Naturaliste, W. Aust., around south-eastern Australia and Tasmania to Bondi, N.S.W.

Taxonomic notes: The elongate, fusiform, vesicles distinguish C. cephalornithos, but intergrades with C. uvifera do occur.


AGARDH, J.G. (1848). Species, Genera et Ordines Algarum. Vol. 1. (Gleerup: Lund.)

ARESCHOUG, J.E. (1854). Phyceae novae et minus cognitae in maribus extraeuropaeis collectae. Ada Reg. Soc. Sci. Upsala, Ser. III, 1, 329–372.

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

LABILLARDIÈRE, J.J. (1806–1807). Novae Hollandiae Plantarum Specimen. Vol. 2. (Plates 231–265 in 1807). (Huzard: Paris.)

NIZAMUDDIN, M. (1964c). The anatomy and life history of Cystophora, Acrocarpia and Caulocystis (Fucales). Bot. Mar. 7, 42–63.

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1964). The morphology and taxonomy of Cystophora and related genera (Phaeophyta). Aust. J. Bot. 12, 53–110, Plates 1–16.

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

Author: H.B.S. Womersley

Publication: Womersley, H.B.S. (14 December, 1987)
The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia
Part II
©Board of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium, Government of South Australia

Illustrations in Womersley Part II, 1997: PLATE 8 fig. 1; FIGS 129B, 132A,B.

Plate 8 image

Plate 8   enlarge

PLATE 8 fig. 1. Caulocystis cephalornithos. A rock pool plant photographed on rock, Robe, S. Aust.
fig. 2. Cystophora platylobium 18 m deep off Althorpe I., S. Aust. (ADU, A57434) (Photo: M. Retallick).
fig. 3. Cystophora siliquosa at Point Avoid, S. Aust. (ADU, A57372).
fig. 4. Sargassum fallax. An upper sublittoral plant photographed on rock, Robe, S. Aust.

Figure 129 image

Figure 129   enlarge

Fig. 129. A. Caulocystis uvifera (ADU, A10345). B. Caulocystis cephalornithos (ADU, A22537).

Figure 132 image

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Fig. 132. A,B. Caulocystis cephalornithos (A, ADU, A26881; B, ADU, A57286). A. Terminal branches and receptacles. B. Cross section of receptacle with bisexual conceptacles. C,D. Acrocarpia paniculata ( C, ADU, A26801; D, ADU, A57342). C. Terminal branch with receptacles. D. Cross section of receptacle with bisexual conceptacles. E–G. Acrocarpia robusta (E,F, ADU, A26473; G, ADU, A50547). E. Branch with bifurcate ramuli. F. Branch with receptacles. G. Cross section of receptacle with bisexual conceptacles each with a central columella. H. Cystophora platylobium (ADU, A57321). Cross section of receptacle with elongate, bisexual, conceptacles. I. Cystophora retroflexa (ADU, A57386). Cross section of receptacle with bisexual conceptacles.

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