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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Cystophora congesta Womersley & Nizamuddin ex Womersley 1964: 86, fig. 30, pl. 9 fig. 2.

Phylum Phaeophyta – Order Fucales – Family Cystoseiraceae

Thallus (Fig. 146A) medium to dark brown, 20 cm-I m long, with the primary axis bearing alternate, densely branched, tufted, laterals and secondary axes. Holdfast discoid-conical, 0.5–1 (–2) cm across, with a single (usually) short, terete, stipe; epilithic. Primary axes usually fairly straight, compressed, 4–6(40) mm broad and 2–4 mm thick, with narrower ridges or edges extending up from the base of each secondary axis, with branching from the face of the axis; lower parts sometimes denuded, with branch residues 1–3 (–5) mm long; secondary axes usually short, 2–5 cm long (occasionally developing into long axes), slightly retroflex; tertiary axes very short (1–2 cm long), forming crowded tufts along secondary axes. Laterals (Fig. 149A) 1–3 cm long, 1–2 (–3) mm apart, tufted, alternately and irregularly branched with few to numerous simple or branched ramuli; ramuli 1–2 (–3) cm long, 0.3–0.6 mm in diameter, terete to slightly compressed, straight to undulate. Vesicles usually numerous, occasionally absent, replacing the basal ramulus of a lateral, petiolate, subspherical, 3–7 (–10) mm in diameter, mutic.

Reproduction: Thalli monoecious. Receptacles (Fig. 149A) mostly simple, slightly compressed, more or less linear, 1–3 cm long and 1–1.5 (–2) mm broad, usually with a sterile apical awn. Conceptacles bisexual or unisexual (then receptacles bisexual), adjacent, with ostioles in two marginal rows, with simple paraphyses; oogonia sessile, subspherical to ovoid, 100–150 µm long and 80–100 µm in diameter; antheridia sessile or on branched paraphyses, ovoid, 20–35 µm long and 14–16 µm in diameter.

Type from Robe, S. Aust. (Nizamuddin & Womersley, 16.iv.1959); holotype in ADU, A23980.

Selected specimens: Elliston, S. Aust., 5 m deep near Salmon Point (Shepherd, 13.v.1971; ADU, A38627). Port Elliot, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 17.x.1948; ADU, A9409). Seal Beach, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., drift ( Womersley, 21.viii.1963; ADU, A26738). Pennington Bay, Kangaroo L, drift (Womersley, 30.i.1946; ADU, A3021). Robe, S. Aust., upper sublittoral pools near jetty (Womersley, 16.xii. I 986; ADU, A57318-"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 278). Peterborough, Vic., drift (Pope & Bennett, 17.viii.1949; ADU, A [2162). Point Roadknight, Vic., drift (Womersley, 6.vi.1953; ADU, A18800). Leonard Bay, Wilsons Prom., Vic. (Sansom, 6.viii.1962; MELU, 311). Low Head, Tamar Est., Tas., 4–12 m deep (Perrin, Aug. 1948; ADU, A9309). Nine Pin Point, D'Entrecasteaux Ch., Tas., 2 m deep (Rogers, July 1985; ADU, A56708).

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

Distribution: From Elliston, S. Aust. to Wilsons Prom., Vic., and around Tasmania. New Zealand (Wellington South).

Taxonomic notes: The confusion concerning this and related taxa was discussed by Womersley (1964, p. 87). C. congesta is common in the upper sublittoral on rough-water coasts of South Australia and Victoria, and is characterised by the robust axes with side ridges extending up from the secondary axes, the densely tufted, relatively short and fairly straight receptacles, and the subspherical vesicles. On Tasmanian coasts it is less common and more difficult to separate from C. retroflexa.


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: FIGS 146A, 149A.

Figure 146 image

Figure 146   enlarge

Fig. 146. A. Cvstophora congesta (ADU, A23980, holotype). B. Cvstophora retroflexa (ADU, A16391).

Figure 149 image

Figure 149   enlarge

Fig. 149. Receptacles of species of Cystophora. A. Cystophora congesta (ADU, A26738). A lateral with receptacles and a vesicle. B,C. Cystophora retroflexa (B, ADU, A26787; C, ADU, A26883). B. A secondary axis and laterals. C. A lateral with receptacles and a vesicle. D. Cystophora cvmodoceae (ADU, A2398l, holotype). A lateral and ramuli with vesicles. E–G. Cystophora subfarcinata (E, ADU, A6551; F, ADU, A5719; G, ADU, A19876). E. Laterals of the e-vesiculate form. F. Loosely branched laterals with vesicles. G. Much branched lateral with basal vesicles. H. Cystophora cuspidata (ADU, A21084).

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