Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Plocamium cartilagineum (Linnaeus) Dixon 1967: 58.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Class Florideophyceae – Order Gigartinales – Family Plocamiaceae

Selected citations: Dixon & Irvine 1977b: 201. Fuhrer et al. 1981: p1. 47. South & Adams 1979: 124, figs 2, 11, 15, 25. Womersley 1971a: 22, figs 36–39.


P. coccineum (Hudson) Lyngbye 1819: 39. J. Agardh 1852: 395; 1876: 339. Harvey 1846: pl. 44; 1847: 123; 1855a: 553; 1859b: 317; 1863, synop.: xxxix. Kylin 1923: 49, figs 34, 35; 1944: 53, pl. 10, fig. 37. Levring 1945: 17; 1946: 221. Womersley 1966: 147.

P. pusillum Sonder 1845: 54; 1846: 192. J. Agardh 1852: 405. Harvey 1847: 123. Kützing 1849: 884.

P. angustum 13 pusillum (Sonder) Harvey 1863, synop.: xxxix.

P. leptophyllum sensu Lucas 1929a: 19; 1929b: 50. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 210, fig. 74 (in part, excl. fig. c). Reinbold 1899: 45. Sonder 1853: 683? Womersley 1950: 170.

Thallus (Fig. 131A) slender and much branched, 5–20 cm high. Erect axes (0.7–) 1–1.5 mm broad. Ramuli normally in alternate series of 3–4, occasionally in pairs or as many as 5–10; normally all ramuli except the lowest are branched, with the uppermost and sometimes the second developing as long laterals; lowest ramulus subulate to almost linear, often curved, entire, 1–2 (–2.5) mm long and about 0.25 mm or less broad at its base.

Reproduction: Sexual thalli dioecious. Cystocarps (Fig. 131B) sessile, globular, smooth, 0.5–0.8 mm in diameter, borne singly or several adjacent in the axils or on the margins of ramuli. Spermatangia (Fig. 131C) covering the surface of ramuli and axes in apical regions.

Stichidia (Fig. 131D) borne in the axils of ramuli or grouped on the upper margin of ramuli and along the axes, usually simple and lanceolate at first but becoming branched at wide angles near their upper ends, sometimes subdichotomously branched 1–4 times lower down; individual stichidia (150–) 250–400 (–1000) µm long and 80–100 µm in diameter, with a short pedicel. Tetrasporangia biseriate, ovoid, 40–55 µm long and 27–32 µm in diameter, zonately divided.

Type from Northern Europe; lectotype in L, 910, 184 ... 14 (see Dixon 1967, p. 56).

Selected specimens: Off White Beach, Dorre I., Shark Bay, W. Aust., 5 m deep (Kenneally, 17.xii.1973; AD, A51706). Cowaramup Bay, W. Aust., drift (Royce, 5.vi.1950; AD, A15478). Twin Rocks, Head of Great Australian Bight, S. Aust., 20–22 m deep (Branden, 19.i.1991; AD, A61140). Topgallant I., S. Aust., 35 m deep (Branden, 2.vii.1987; AD, A57564). Marino, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 18.vi.1961; AD, A24865). Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 2.i.1949; AD, A10740). Amphitheatre Rock, West I., S. Aust., 8 m deep (Shepherd, 30.vi.1970; AD, A35979). Robe, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 20.iv.1969; AD, A34077). Lawrence Rock, Portland, Vic., 8–11 m deep (Larkum, 2.ix.1971; AD, A39627). Cape Woolamai, Vic., 15–18 m deep (Goldsworthy & Berthold, 16.ii.1990; AD, A60191). Crawfish Rock, Westernport Bay, Vic., 0–3 m deep (Watson, 15.ix.1968; AD, A32770). Green Point, Marrawah, NW Tas., drift (Womersley, 17.x.1982; AD, A55559). Low Head, Tas. (Perrin, 8.vii.1951; AD, A47187). Fluted Cape, Bruny I., Tas., 16 m deep (Shepherd, 10.ii.1972; AD, A41487). Jervis Bay, N.S.W., 2–3 m deep (Shepherd, 15.viii.1972; AD, A42619).

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

Distribution: Temperate seas throughout the world.

In Australia, from Shark Bay, W. Aust., around southern coasts to Newcastle, N.S.W. (probably to Caloundra, Qld) and around Tasmania. Found on coasts of strong to moderate wave action and known from depths of 2–26 m.

Taxonomic notes: P. cartilagineum is the only very widespread species of Plocamium, being recorded from many temperate seas. The Australian forms compare well in habit with those from Europe and are distinctly less robust than the Pacific North American forms distinguished previously as P. coccineum var. pacificum J. Agardh. While there is considerable variation in habit and dimensions within the complex, the consistent branching pattern, sessile cystocarps and the morphology of the stichidia distinguish the species.


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AGARDH, J.G. (1876). Species Genera et Ordines Algarum. Vol. 3, Part 1 - Epicrisis systematis Floridearum, pp. i-vii, 1–724. (Weigel: Leipzig.)

DIXON, P.S. & IRVINE, L.M. (1977b). Seaweeds of the British Isles. Vol. 1, Rhodophyta. Part I, Introduction, Nemaliales, Gigartinales. [British Museum (N.H.): London.]

DIXON, P.S. (1967). The typification of Fucus cartilagineus L. and F. corneus Huds. Blumea 15, 55–62.

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HARVEY, W.H. (1859b). Algae. In Hooker, J.D., The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage. Flora Tasmaniae. Vol. II, pp. 282–320.

HARVEY, W.H. (1863). Phycologia Australica. Vol. 5, Plates 241–300, synop., pp. i-lxxiii. (Reeve: London.)

KÜTZING, F.T. (1849). Species Algarum. (Leipzig.)

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LEVRING, T. (1945). Marine algae from some antarctic and subantarctic Islands. Lunds Univ. Årsskr. N.F. Avd. 2, 41 (7), 1–36, Plate 1.

LEVRING, T. (1946). A list of marine algae from Australia and Tasmania. Acta Horti gothoburg 16, 215–227.

LUCAS, A.H.S. & PERRIN, F. (1947). The Seaweeds of South Australia. Part 2. The Red Seaweeds. (Govt Printer: Adelaide.)

LUCAS, A.H.S. (1929a). The marine algae of Tasmania. Pap. Proc. R. Soc. Tasm. 1928, 6–27.

LUCAS, A.H.S. (1929b). A census of the marine algae of South Australia. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 53, 45–53.

LYNGBYE, H.CH. (1819). Tentamen Hydrophytologiae Danicae. (Copenhagen.)

REINBOLD, T. (1899). Meeresalgen von Investigator Street (Süd Australien), gesammelt von Miss Nellie Davey (Waltham, Honiton). Hedwigia 38, 39–51.

SONDER, O.G. (1845). Nova Algarum genera et species, quas in itinere ad oras occidentales Novae Hollandiae, collegit L. Preiss, Ph.Dr. Bot. Zeit. 3, 49–57.

SONDER, O.W. (1846). Algae. In Lehmann, C., Plantae Preissianae. Vol. 2, pp. 148–160. (Hamburg.)

SONDER, O.W. (1853). Plantae Muellerianae. Algae. Linnaea 25, 657–709.

SOUTH, G.R. & ADAMS, N.M. (1979). A revision of the genus Plocamium Lamouroux (Rhodophyta, Gigartinales) in New Zealand. Phycologia 18, 120–132.

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. (1966). Port Phillip survey, 1957–1963: Algae. Mem. natn. Mus., Vict. No. 27, 133–156.

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1971a). The genus Plocamium (Rhodophyta) in southern Australia. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 95, 9–27.

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

Author: H.B.S. Womersley

Publication: Womersley, H.B.S. (14 January, 1994)
The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia
Rhodophyta. Part IIIA, Bangiophyceae and Florideophyceae (to Gigartinales)
Reproduced with permission from The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia Part IIIA 1994, by H.B.S. Womersley. Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra. Copyright Commonwealth of Australia.

Illustration in Womersley Part IIIA, 1994: FIG. 131 A–D.

Figure 131 image

Figure 131   enlarge

Fig. 131. A–D. Plocamium cartilagineum (AD, A35979). A. Habit. B. Branches with sessile cystocarps. C. Branches with spermatangia. D. Branches with stichidia. E–G. Plocamium leptophyllum (E, AD, A33238; F, G, AD, A36017). E. Habit. F. Upper part of a branch with normal and adventitious ramuli and hooked branch ends. G. Branches with stichidia. [A–G as in Womersley 1971.]

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