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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Corallina officinalis Linnaeus 1758: 805.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Class Florideophyceae – Order Corallinales – Family Corallinaceae – Subfamily Corallinoideae – Tribe Corallineae

Selected citations: Borowitzka & Vesk 1978: 295, figs 1–5. Chapman & Parkinson 1974: 180, pl. 61b. De Toni 1905: 1840. Hamel & Lemoine 1953: 31, figs 1–3, pl. 1 fig. 1. Harvey 1849b: pl. 222; 1859b: 310. Irvine & Johansen 1994: 44, figs 12A, 13A, B, 14C, D, 15A, B, 18A. King et al. 1971: 121. Kylin 1944: 47, pl. 9 fig. 29. Manza 1940: 275, pl. 7. Suneson 1937: 29, figs 18–22, pl. 1. Womersley 1950: 1167; 1966: 146.


Corallina chilensis Decaisne in Harvey 1849a: 103 sensu Gepp & Gepp 1906: 261. Harvey 1863, synop.: xxviii. Millar & Kraft 1993: 13. Sonder 1881: 21.

Corallina pilulifera Postels & Ruprecht sensu Cribb 1954: 35.

Thallus (Fig. 132A, B) pink-grey to medium red-purple, fading to light grey, (1–) 2–6 cm high, usually in tufts of several to numerous erect fronds from a crustose base. Fronds pinnately and complanately branched for 2–3 orders, usually from each intergeniculum (Fig. 132C) with one or two lateral branches from each shoulder, commonly denuded below. Intergenicula subterete to slightly compressed near the base of axes, compressed above and broader apically, usually 500–1000 (–1500) µm long and 500–800 (–1500) µm broad, edges rounded in section. Lateral branches distinctly slenderer, simple or branched, terete and tapering to slightly broader above, 200–300 (–500) µm in diameter, intergenicula 700–1500 µm long; some terminal intergenicula flat and spathulate. Holdfast discoid, becoming crustose and (0.5–) 1–2 cm across; epilithic or on mollusc shells. Structure multiaxial, intergenicula (Fig. 132D) of (8–) 10–20 (–25) tiers of medullary cells 30–60 µm long and 6–10 µm in diameter, with frequent lateral cell-fusions; ends of tier cells usually not aligned. Cortex of splaying filaments from the outer medullary filaments, cells 4–10 µm in diameter and L/D (1–) 2–4, with small epithallial cells. Rhodoplasts discoid to laminate. Genicula (Fig. 132D) of single tiers of slender, cells 180–350 µm long and 4–7 µm in diameter, walls staining darkly.

Reproduction: Gametangial thalli dioecious. Conceptacles uniporate, axial, swollen, terminating lateral branchlets or occasionally (female and tetrasporangial) bearing short slender branchlets.

Carposporangial conceptacle chambers (Irvine & Johansen 1994, p. 45) 250–400 µm in diameter, 300–320 µm high, roofs 150–240 µm thick, fusion cells 90–200 µm in diameter and 6–11 µm thick; carposporangia 30–80 µm in diameter. Male conceptacle chambers 250–480 µm in diameter, 100–300 µm high, roofs 200–600 µm thick.

Tetrasporangial conceptacle chambers (Fig. 132E, F) 300–450 µm in diameter, 300–600 µm high, with neck canal 200–250 µm long through the thickened roof; tetrasporangia 180–240 µm long and 55–85 µm in diameter, zonately divided.

Type from Europe; lectotype (Schmitz 1889: 455) in LINN, 1293.9.

Selected specimens: Frenchman Bay, King George Sound, W. Aust., lower eulittoral (Womersley, 29.viii.1979; AD, A51660). Point Sinclair, S. Aust., lower eulittoral (Womersley, 26.i.1951; AD, A15121). Just SE of Wanna, S. Aust., upper sublittoral (Johansen 81–11–1b, 2.xi.1981; AD, A52774). Gleeson Landing, Yorke Pen., S. Aust., lower eulittoral (Womersley, 15.x.1989; AD, A59915 -"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 335a). Port Noarlunga, S. Aust., reef pool edges (Johansen 81–10–12, 13.x.1981; AD, A52708 -"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 335). Judith Cove, West I., S. Aust., 2 m deep (Shepherd, 5.xi.1966; AD, A31593). Cape du Couedic, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., upper sublittoral (Womersley, 17.i.1950; AD, Al2671). Redbanks, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., upper sublittoral (Womersley, 29.i.1956; AD, A20332). Robe, S. Aust., lower eulittoral (Womersley, 20.xii.1953; AD, A19134). Bridgewater Bay, Vic., lower eulittoral (Womersley, 29.xii.1981; AD, A52867). Rickett Point, Port Phillip, Vic., rock pools (Sinkora A388, 31.iii.1970; AD, A62593; MEL, 2010324). Queenscliff, Vic., upper sublittoral (Johansen 81–8–12a, 31.viii.1981; AD, A52610). Cape Sorell, W Tas., low eulittoral (Bennett, 4.ii.1955; AD, A20611). Shelter Point, Boat Harbour, N Tas., mid eulittoral pool (Womersley, 16.x.1982; AD, A55725). Bicheno, Tas. (Perrin, July 1940; AD, A61902). Canoe Bay, Fortescue Bay, Tasman Pen., Tas., 3–4 m deep (Gowlett-Holmes, 23.vi.1995; Ad, A64460). Fluted Cape, Bruny I., Tas., 19 m deep (Shepherd, 11.ii.1972; AD, A41842).

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

Distribution: Widespread in temperate seas.

Taxonomic notes: Corallina officinalis is the commonest geniculate coralline alga just above low tide level, often forming a distinct turf in the lower eulittoral zone. Haliptilon roseum also occurs frequently at this level, but is readily distinguished by having few medullary tiers compared to the many in Corallina.


BOROWITZKA, M.A. & VESK, M. (1978). Ultrastructure of the Corallinaceae. I. The vegetative cells of Corallina officinalis and C. cuvierii. Mar. Biol. 46, 295–304.

CHAPMAN, V.J. & PARKINSON, P.G. (1974). The marine algae of New Zealand. Part III: Rhodophyceae. Issue 3: Cryptonemiales, pp. 155–278, Plates 51–94. (Cramer: Germany.)

CRIBB, A.B. (1954). The algal vegetation of Port Arthur, Tasmania. Pap. Proc. R. Soc. Tas. 88, 1–44, Plates 1–10.

DE TONI, G.B. (1905). Sylloge Algarum omnium hucusque Cognitarum. Vol. 4. Florideae. Sect. 4, pp. 1523–1973. (Padua.)

GEPP, A. & GEPP, E.S. (1906). Some marine algae from New South Wales. J. Bot., Lond. 1906, 249–261, Plate 481.

HAMEL, G. & LEMOINE, P. (1953). Corallinacées de France et D'Afrique du Nord. Archs Mus. natn. d'Hist. Nat., Paris, 7 Sér, 1, 15–136, Plates 1–23.

HARVEY, W.H. (1849a). Nereis Australis, pp. 65–124, Plates 26–50. (Reeve: London.)

HARVEY, W.H. (1849b). A manual of the British marine algae. Edn 2. (Van Voorst: London.)

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

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

KING, R.J., BLACK, J.H. & DUCKER, S.C. (1971). Intertidal ecology of Port Phillip Bay with systematic lists of plants and animals. Mem. Nat. Mus. Vic. 32, 93–128, charts 1, 2.

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

LINNAEUS, C. (1758). Systema Naturae. 10 ed. Vol. 1. (Salvii: Stockholm.)

MANZA, A.V. (1940). A revision of the genera of articulated corallines. Philip. J. Sci. 71, 239–316, Plates 1–20.

MILLAR, A.J.K. & KRAFT, G.T. (1993). Catalogue of Marine and Freshwater Red Algae (Rhodophyta) of New South Wales, including Lord Howe Island, South-western Pacific. Aust. Syst. Bot. 6, 1–90.

SCHMITZ, F. (1889). Systematische Ubersicht der bisher bekannten Gattungen der Florideen. Flora, Jena 72, 435–456, Plate 21.

SONDER, O.W. (1881). In Mueller, F., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae. Supplementum ad volumen undecinum: Algae Australianae hactenus cognitae, pp. 1–42, 105–107. (Melbourne.)

SUNESON, S. (1937). Studien über die entwicklungsgeschichte der Corallinaceen. Lunds Univ. Årsskr. N.F. Avd. 2, 33, 1–102, Plates 1–4.

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.

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

Author: H.B.S. Womersley & H.W. Johansen

Publication: Womersley, H.B.S. (28 June, 1996)
The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia
Rhodophyta. Part IIIB. Gracilarialse, Rhodymeniales, Corallinales and Bonnemaisoniales
Reproduced with permission from The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia Part IIIB 1996, by H.B.S. Womersley. Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra. Copyright Commonwealth of Australia.

Illustrations in Womersley Part IIIA, 1996: PLATE 4 fig. 2; FIG. 132.

Plate 4 image

Plate 4   enlarge

figure 1. Spongites hyperellus (AD, 56460). Photograph - H.B.S. Womersley.
figure 2. Corallina officinalis (AD, A64460). Photograph - K.L. Gowlett-Holmes.
figure 3. Metagoniolithon radiatum (AD, A64606). Photograph - K.L. Gowlett-Holmes.
figure 4. Haliptilon roseum (AD, A64605). Photograph - K.L. Gowlett-Holmes.

Figure 132 image

Figure 132   enlarge

Fig. 132. Corallina officinalis (A–D, AD, A59915; E, F, AD, A52774). A. Habit. B. Habit, enlarged. C. Longitudinal section of apex with five branches. D. Longitudinal section of geniculum and intergenicula tiers. E. Longitudinal section of tetrasporangial conceptacle. F. Longitudinal section of conceptacle with mature tetrasporangia.

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