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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Cystophora polycystidea Areschoug ex J. Agardh 1848: 240; 1896: 47.

Phylum Phaeophyta – Order Fucales – Family Cystoseiraceae

Selected citations: Nizamuddin 1964c: 42–63. Womersley 1964: 73, figs 10,11, pl. 4 fig. 2.

Thallus (Fig. 138A) medium brown, bushy, 20–50 (–100) cm long, with a robust, often branched, primary axis bearing dense, tufted, secondary axes and laterals. Holdfast discoid-conical, 0.5–1.5 cm across; epilithic. Primary axes compressed, quadrangular in transverse section, 2–7 mm broad and 2–4 mm thick, alternately distichously branched from the axis face at intervals of 0.3–3 cm, with prominent scalariform residues 1–3 mm long below; secondary (and tertiary) axes not or slightly retroflex, similar to primary axes but slenderer. Laterals (Fig. 139G) 2–10 cm long, lax, with irregularly radially and spirally arranged terete ramuli 0.5–1.5 cm long and 0.2–0.5 mm in diameter, simple or alternately branched largely in one plane. Vesicles numerous, clustered, replacing 5–20 of the basal ramuli of laterals (occasionally odd higher ones), petiolate and apiculate at least when young, elongate-ovoid and tapering at both ends, (2–) 3–5 (–7) mm long and (1–) 2–3 (–4) mm in diameter.

Reproduction: Thalli monoecious. Receptacles (Fig. 139G,H) simple or occasionally branched, distantly moniliform, 0.5–2 cm long and 0.4–0.7 (–1) mm in diameter at conceptacles. Conceptacles bisexual, ostioles scattered or tending to two rows, with simple paraphyses; oogonia sessile, ovoid, 80–120 µm long and 45–65 µm in diameter; antheridia sessile or on branched paraphyses, elongate-ovoid, 16–24 µm long and 7–10 µm in diameter.

Type from Port Phillip, Vic.; in Herb. Agardh, LD, 1010.

Selected specimens: Frenchman Bay, Albany, W. Aust., 0–3 m deep (Smith, Nov. 1949; UWA). Point Fowler, S. Aust., upper sublittoral pools (Womersley, 6.ii.1954; ADU, A19460). Port Neill, S. Aust., drift ( Womersley, 3.i.1951; ADU, A13705). Pondalowie Bay, Yorke Pen., S. Aust., in pools (Womersley, 14.iv.1963; ADU, A26640). Port Willunga, S. Aust., upper sublittoral ( Womersley, 24.iv.1948; ADU, A8394). Saunders Beach, Eastern Cove, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., upper sublittoral (Womersley, 15.viii.1963; ADU, A26755). Cape Nelson, Vic., mid eulittoral pool, shaded (Womersley, 2.ix.1971; ADU, A39540). Sorrento, Vic., upper sublittoral pools (Womersley, 2.vi.1953; ADU, A18817). Bombay Rock, Tamar Est., Tas., upper sublittoral ( Womersley, 27.i.1949; ADU, A10353).

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

Distribution: From Albany, W. Aust. to Long Bay, N.S.W. (May 1939, p. 205) and the north coast of Tasmania.

Taxonomic notes: C. polycystidea is a common species in rock pools and moderately sheltered areas of the South Australian, Victorian and northern Tasmania coasts, from low tide level down for 3–5 metres. It is distinguished by the numerous, elongate and usually apiculate vesicles replacing lower ramuli of the laterals, and the distantly moniliform receptacles.


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

AGARDH, J.G. (1896). Analecta Algologica. Cont. III. Ada Univ. lund. 32, 1–140, Plate 1.

MAY, V. (1939). A key to the marine algae of New South Wales. Part. II. Melanophyceae (Phaeophyceae). Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 64, 191–215.

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: FIGS 138A, 139G,H.

Figure 138 image

Figure 138   enlarge

Fig. 138. A. Cystophora polycystidea (ADU, A13705). B. Cystophora monilifera (ADU, A18821).

Figure 139 image

Figure 139   enlarge

Fig. 139. Receptacles of species of Cystophora. A,B. Cystophora pectinata (ADU, A13898). A. A pinnate lateral with ramuli. B. A receptacle. C,D. Cystophora racemosa (ADU, A26739). C. An axis with laterals. D. Lower part of a lateral with receptacles and a vesicle. E,F. Cystophora botryocystis (ADU, A26864). E. An axis, and laterals with crowded ramuli and basally clustered vesicles. F. Receptacles. G,H. Cystophora polycystidea (ADU, A26755). G. Two secondary axes with laterals. H. Receptacles on a lateral.

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