Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Porphyra woolhousiae Harvey 1863: pl. 265.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Class Bangiophyceae – Order Bangiales – Family Bangiaceae

Selected citations: J. Agardh 1883: 59. De Toni 1897: 15. Guiler 1952: 84. Lucas 1929a: 15. Womersley & Conway 1975: 59, figs 1,2.

Thallus (Fig. 5A) rose-red to red-purple, (1–) 2–17 cm long and 1–4 cm broad, delicate, irregularly ovate or elongate cuneate when young to broadly expanded or elongate with convex margins which may become gently convolute, with one to a few monostromatic blades (12–) 16–24 µm thick, arising from a rhizoidal holdfast; epiphytic on brown algae, rarely on red algae. Growth by intercalary divisions and a marginal meristem (Fig. 5B,C). Cells at margins in short anticlinal rows, isodiametric to slightly elongate, angular, 6–10 µm across; in central parts of blades, cells (Fig. 5D) often in rows but becoming irregular, polygonal and angular to ovoid, often with adjacent cells unequal in size, 10–16 (–20) µm across; rhodoplasts stellate to laminate, with a central pyrenoid.

Reproduction: Monosporangia(?) formed in marginal areas, spherical to ovoid, 12–17 µm across, with a stellate rhodoplast.

Spermatangia (Fig. 5E) forming well defined but irregular patches usually near the thallus margins, with spermatangia in packets of (16–) 32–64, spermatia 2–4 µm in diameter. Carpo s porangi a unknown.

Sporophyte (conchocelis phase) unknown.

Type from Tasmania (on Macrocystis); in TCD.

Selected specimens: St Kilda, S. Aust., on Gigartina on Posidonia, 1.5 m deep (Lewis, 23.viii.1972; AD, A42722). Mallacoota, Vic., on Scytothamnus australis (Ducker & King, 15.xi.1970; MEL, 20652; AD, A43489). Deal I., Bass Strait, on Perithalia caudata (King, 23.xi.1969; MELU, 21357; AD, A43302). Blackmans Bay, Tas., drift (Tyler, Oct. 1973; AD, A44234).

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

Distribution: New Zealand (Chapman 1969, p. 20), Falkland Is (Skottsberg 1923, p. 4), Kerguelen I. (Hamel 1928a, p. 55) and South America (Pujals 1963, p. 8; Etcheverry 1986, p. 160).

St Kilda, S. Aust., to Mallacoota, Vic., and Tasmania, from scattered records.

Taxonomic notes: Womersley & Conway (1975, p. 62) point out that P. woolhousiae is not well known and mature fertile plants on Macrocystis in Tasmania should be studied; such plants have not been collected recently, and records on other hosts need more detailed checking. Comparisons with specimens from outside southern Australia are also needed. Ricker (1987, p. 146, fig. 61) recorded (with doubt) P. woolhousiae from Macquarie Island. The epilithic habitat, cell shape, and lack of a marginal meristem almost certainly exclude this record.


AGARDH, J.G. (1883). Till algemes systematik. VI. Ulvaceae. Acta Univ. lund. 19(2), 1–182, Plates 1–4.

CHAPMAN, V.J. (1969). The marine algae of New Zealand. Part III: Rhodophyceae. Issue 1: Bangiophycidae and Florideophycidae (Némalionales, Bonnemaisoniales, Gélidiales). (Cramer: Germany.)

DE TONI, G.B. (1897). Sylloge Algarum omnium hucusque Cognitarum. Vol. 4. Florideae. Sect. 1, pp. 1–388. (Padua.)

ETCHEVERRY, D.H. (1986). Algas Marinas Bentónicas de Chile. (Unesco: Montevideo.)

GUILER, E.R. (1952). The marine algae of Tasmania. Check-list with localities. Pap. Proc. R. Soc. Tasm. 86, 71–106.

HAMEL, G. (1928a). Sur quelques Porphyra des mers australes. Ann. Crypt. Exot. 1, 51–57.

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

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

PUJALS, C. (1963). Catálogo de Rhodophytas citadas para Argentina. Rev. Mus. Arg. Cienc. Nat. "B. Rivadavia", Bot. 3 (1), 1–139.

RICKER, R.W. (1987). Taxonomy and biogeography of Macquarie Island Seaweeds. [British Museum (N.H.): London.]

SKOTTSBERG, C. (1923). Botanische Ergebnisse der schwedischen Expedition nach Patagonien and dem Feuerlande, 1907–1909. IX. Marine algae. 2. Rhodophyceae. K. Svenska Vetensk. Akad. Handl. 63(8), 1–70.

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. & CONWAY, E. (1975). Porphyra and Porphyropsis (Rhodophyta) in southern Australia. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 99, 59–70.

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. 5 A–E.

Figure 5 image

Figure 5   enlarge

Fig. 5. A–E. Porphyra woolhousiae (A, B, D, AD, A44234; C, the type; E, AD, A42722). A. Habit. B. Cell arrangement, with meristematic margin. C. Cells and margin in the type. D. Cells from within margin. E. Spermatangial region. F, G. Porphyra columbine (F, AD, A42214; G, AD, A42625). F. Habit of young plants. G. Habit of older umbilicate plants. [F as in Womersley & Conway 1975.]

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