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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Polycoelia laciniata J. Agardh 1849: 87; 1851: 305; 1876: 228.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Class Florideophyceae – Order Gigartinales – Family Kallymeniaceae

Selected citations: Harvey 1863, synop.: xliii. Kylin 1956: 230. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 161, fig. 32. Norris 1957: 277, fig. 7A–D, pl. 33. Womersley 1950: 169. Womersley & Norris 1971: 22, figs 47, 92, 93.


P. fastigiata Harvey 1860a: 324, pl. 192B.

P. australis J. Agardh 1879: 114, pl. 13, figs 1–4.

P. chondroides J. Agardh 1896: 69.

Thallus (Fig. 76E) medium to dark red, flat, arising from a short stipe, usually 5–20 cm high and as much across, much branched essentially in one plane in an irregularly alternate to di- or polychotomous manner, in older thalli often with marginal proliferations which may develop into foliose laterals; margin smooth in young thalli to irregular in older thalli; lower parts (0.3–) 1–2 cm broad, to 4 cm broad in old thalli, usually as wide in median parts, tapering gradually or abruptly to (1–) 2–4 mm broad near apices in young thalli but such tapering apices commonly lost from older plants; substance firm when fresh but becoming gelatinous, usually adhering to paper on drying and tending to disintegrate on wetting. Holdfast discoid, 1–3 mm across; epilithic or epiphytic on larger algae. Structure. Thallus (Fig. 77M) 0.5–1 mm thick in median parts, consisting of a medulla of a single layer of large, thick-walled, isodiametric to slightly elongate cells which in median parts of the thallus comprise one-half to two-thirds of the thickness, and an inner cortex of a lax network of slender filaments of relatively short cells, which also grow between the medullary cells, and which produce an outer cortex of erect, branched chains of 2–5 small cells, the outermost of which are isodiametric and about 3 µm across; stellate cells absent.

Reproduction: Sexual thalli dioecious. Carpogonial branch systems (Fig. 77N) monocarpogonial, scattered in the mid cortex, consisting of an elongate and often terminally lobed supporting cell bearing 2–4 elongate, irregularly clavate, subsidiary cells, one of which forms the carpogonial branch. Fusion cell lobed, producing several connecting filaments. Auxiliary cell systems (Fig. 77 0) scattered in the mid cortex, about 30 µm across, consisting of an enucleate auxiliary cell bearing 3–6 multinucleate, isodiametric to slightly elongate, subsidiary cells, one (rarely 2) of which may form a 1–3-celled chain. Cystocarps scattered, 0.5–1 mm across, non-ostiolate and slightly protruding, with an involucre of denser filaments and with numerous groups of subspherical carposporangia (18–26 µm across) surrounded by gonimoblast filaments. Spermatangia cut off from the outer cortical cells, 1.5–2 µm in diameter.

Tetrasporangia scattered in the outer cortex (Fig. 77M), elongate-ovoid, cruciately divided, 32–45 µm long by 17–25 µm in diameter.

Type from "Occid. Novae Hollandiae" (probably south-west Western Australia); lectotype in Herb. Agardh, LD, 24922.

Selected specimens: Waldegrave I., S. Aust., 23 m deep (Shepherd, 11.v.1971; AD, A38734). Elliston, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 14.ii.1954; AD, A19401). Topgallant I., S. Aust., 35 m deep (Branden, 2.vii.1987; AD, A57570). Stenhouse Bay, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 9.iv.1950; AD, A13238). Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 2.i.I949; AD, A10610). Margaret Brock Reef, Cape Jaffa, S. Aust., 10 m deep (Lewis, 15.ii.1974; AD, A45040). Stinky Bay, Nora Creina, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 19.viii.1957; AD, A21209). Port MacDonnell, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 28.i.1964; AD, A27404). Flinders, Vic., drift (Womersley, 25.x.1986; AD, A57843). Musselroe Bay, Tas. (Perrin, Mar. 1950; AD, A49742). Adventure Bay, Bruny I., Tas. (Perrin 471, 16.ix.1948; AD, A49747).

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

Distribution: South-west Western Australia to Flinders, Vic., and around Tasmania.

Taxonomic notes: P. laciniata is a sublittoral species, found mainly on rough-water coasts; at Pearson I., S. Aust., slender plants have been collected between 30 and 50 m deep, but broader forms are known from elsewhere in much shallower depths. It is very variable in form, depending on its age, degree of regrowth from old parts, and its habitat. Forms with broad thalli and relatively large proliferous laterals have probably lasted through two seasons and the proliferous laterals represent the second season's growth.

Polycoelia is most closely allied to Pugetia, having comparable reproductive systems, but is strikingly characterised by the well-defined single-layered medulla of large cells and a network of very slender cortical filaments. Whereas Polycoelia has a much-branched thallus, Pugetia is typically a foliose genus.


AGARDH, J.G. (1849). Algologiska bidrag. Öfvers. K. Svenska Vetensk. Akad. Rh-h. 6(3), 79–89.

AGARDH, J.G. (1851). Species Genera et Ordines Algarum. Vol. 2, Part 1, 1–336 + index. (Gleerup: Lund.)

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

AGARDH, J.G. (1879). Florideernes morphologi. K. Svenska Vetensk. Akad. Handl. 15(6), 1–199, Plates 1–33.

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

HARVEY, W.H. (1860a). Algae. In Hooker, J.D., The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage. 111. Flora Tasmaniae. Vol. II, pp. 321–343, Plates 185–196.

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

KYLIN, H. (1956). Die Gattungen der Rhodophyceen. (Gleerups: Lund.)

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

NORRIS, R.E. (1957). Morphological studies on the Kallymeniaceae. Univ. Calif. Pubis Bot. 28, 251–333.

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. & NORRIS, R.E. (1971). The morphology and taxonomy of Australian Kallymeniaceae (Rhodophyta). Aust. J. Bot. Suppl. 2, pp. 1–62.

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1950). The marine algae of Kangaroo Island. III. List of Species 1. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 73, 137–197.

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.

Illustrations in Womersley Part IIIA, 1994: FIGS 76E, 77M-0.

Figure 76 image

Figure 76   enlarge

Fig. 76. A. Cirrulicarpus nanus (AD, A33913). Habit. B. Cirrulicarpus polycoelioides (AD, A41925). Habit. C, D. Hormophora australasica (C, AD, A46592; D, AD, A49150). C. Habit. D. Cross section of a cystocarp. E. Polycoelia laciniata (AD, A19401). Habit. [E as in Womersley & Norris 1971.]

Figure 77 image

Figure 77   enlarge

Fig. 77. A–F. Cirrulicarpus nanus (A–D, MEL, 1OO5814; E, AD, A41232; F, AD, A42423). A. Transverse section of thallus, with a carpogonial branch system. B. Stellate cell. C. Carpogonial branch system with 3 carpogonial branches. D. Auxiliary cell system. E. Transverse section of cortex with spermatangia. F. Transverse section of cortex with obliquely divided telrasporangia. G–L. Cirrulicarpus polycoelioider (AD, A41925). G. Transverse section of cortex with a carpogonial branch system. H. Stellate cell. I. Auxiliary cell system. J–L. Hormophora auslralasica (J, K, from the type; L, AD, A4915O). J. Transverse section of thallus. K. Stellate cell. L. Carpogonial branch system. M–O. Polycoelia laciniaza (M, N, AD, A212O9; O, AD, A19401). M. Transverse section from large central cells to cortex, with tetrasporangia. N. Carpogonial branch system. O. Auxiliary cell system. [A–D, J, K, M after Womersley & Norris 1971.]

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