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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Porphyridium purpureum (Bory) Drew & Ross 1965: 98.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Class Bangiophyceae – Order Porphyridiales – Family Porphyridiaceae

Selected citations: Bold & Wynne 1985: 534, fig. 9.15b, c. Nelson & Ryan 1988: 127. Ott 1972: 240.


Phytoconis purpurea Bory 1797: 55.

Porphyridium marinum Kylin 1937: 119; 1944, 5, fig. 1A–C.

Thallus (Fig. 1A) an aggregation of unicells forming a layer on other algae, up to 1 mm long, cells (Fig. 1B) each with a sheath, subspherical to ovoid, 5–7 µm across, with a blood-red plastid with slight peripheral rounded projections and a central pyrenoid.

Type from ?

Known specimen: West I., S. Aust., on Dictyota fenestrata J. Agardh, 3–4 m deep, shaded (van Altena, 18.viii.1989; AD, A59695).

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

Distribution: Probably widespread in terrestrial, brackish, and (less so) marine situations but easily overlooked.

Taxonomic notes: This is the only record of Porphyridium from southern Australia, and its blood-red colour places it as P. purpureum although the habitat is unusual. However, Doty & Garnic (1949, p. 238) and others have shown that the usually fresh-water P. purpureum can grow well in sea water. It has been recorded from New Zealand by Nelson & Ryan (1988).


BOLD, H.C. & WYNNE, M.J. (1985). Introduction to the Algae: Structure and reproduction. 2nd Edn. (Prentice-Hall: New Jersey.)

BORY DE ST-VINCENT, J.B. (1797). Mémoire sur les genres Conferva et Byssus, du chevalier 0. Linné. (Cavazza: Bordeaux.)

DOTY, M.S. & GARNIC, J. (1949). Porphyridium cruentum Naegeli and Porphyridium marinum Kylin. Biol. Bull. Mar. biol. Lab. Woods Hole 97, 238.

DREW, K.M. & ROSS, R. (1965). Some generic names in the Bangiophycidae. Taxon 14, 93–99.

KYLIN, H. (1937). Uber eine marine Porphyridium - Art. K. Fysiogr. Sällsk. Lund Förhandl. 7, 119–123.

KYLIN, H. (1944). Die Rhodophyceen der schwedischen Westküste. Lunds Univ. Årsskr. N.F. Avd. 2, 40 (2), 1–104, Plates 1–32.

NELSON, W.A. & RYAN, K.G. (1988). Porphyridium purpurewn (Bory)Drew et Ross (Porphyridiales, Rhodophyceae) - first record of a marine unicellular red alga in New Zealand. J. R. Soc. N.Z. 18, 127–128.

OTT, F.D. (1972). A review of the synonyms and the taxonomic positions of the algal genus Porphyridium Naegeli 1849. Nova Hedwigia 23, 237–289.

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. 1A, B.

Figure 1 image

Figure 1   enlarge

Fig. 1. A, B. Porphyridium purpureum (AD, A59695). A. Cells in patches on Dictyota fenestrata. B. Cells each with a rhodoplast and central pyrenoid. C. Chroodactylon ornatum (AD, A19851). Thallus showing branching pattern and cell detail. D, E. Stylonema alsidii (AD, A58642). D. Branching pattern. E. Cells each with a stellate rhodoplast and pyrenoid. F, G. Stylonema cornu-cervi (AD,A58644). F. Thallus (on Caulerpa) showing cell arrangement. G. Cells each with a rhodoplast and pyrenoid. H. Erythrocladia irregularis (on AD, A31991 of Chaetomorpha linum). Thallus showing branching pattern of cells and cell detail. I. Erythrocladia subintegra (AD, A58641). Thallus showing branching pattern of cells and detail in a few.

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