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Ptilonia subulifera J. Agardh 1890: 46.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Class Florideophyceae – Order Bonnemaisoniales – Family Bonnemaisoniaceae

Selected citations: De Toni 1900b: 759. Guiler 1952: 85. Levring


1953: 517, figs 45A, 46. May 1965: 398. Tisdall 1898: 512. Wilson 1892: 169.

Ptilonia intermedia Lucas 1913: 59; 1929a: 20. De Toni 1924: 364. Guiler 1952: 85. May 1965: 398.

Delisea subulifera (J. Agardh) Chihara ex Chihara & Yoshizaki 1978: 387.

Thallus (Fig. 159A) medium to dark red-brown, 10–35 cm high, essentially complanately and alternately marginally branched, axils acute, apices narrowly rounded, branches compressed, 0.5–1 mm broad near apices, 1–1.5 mm broad in mid parts, 2–3 (–4) mm broad near the thickened (subterete) base, usually denuded below. Holdfast discoid-conical, 3–6 (–10) mm across, usually with a single stipe; epilithic. Structure uniaxial (Fig. 159B), apical cell inconspicuous, lateral periaxial filaments alternating slightly on adjacent axial cells, axial filament becoming 80–200 µm in diameter with a surrounding layer of rounded rhizoidal cells, cortex compact, inner cells subspherical to ovoid, 80–160 µm in diameter, with intermixed small rounded cells, outermost cortical cells 2–5 µm in diameter and L/D 1–1.5 in thallus section, with scattered, inconspicuous, larger gland cells. Older axes with a well-developed secondary cortex. Rhodoplasts discoid in outer cells, ribbon like and branched in inner cells.

Reproduction: Carpogonial branches little known (see Levring 1953, fig. 45A). Cystocarps (Fig. 159C) globular to ovoid, 1–1.5 mm in diameter, sessile on upper branchlets or appearing stalked, with a thick ostiolate pericarp (Fig. 159E). Carposporophyte (Fig. 159D, E) densely tufted, with a basal fusion cell, much branched gonimoblast filaments of slender elongate cells, and single, terminal, clavate to elongate-ovoid carposporangia 40–60 µm in diameter. Spermatangia unknown.

Tetrasporangia unknown.

Lectotype from Port Phillip, Vic. (Wilson, 18.i.1890); in Herb. Agardh, LD, 37493.

Selected specimens: 8 km S of West I., S. Aust., 20–25 m deep (Edyvane, 11.vii.1982; AD, A60747). Port Elliot, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 26.xi.1961; AD, A25429). Robe, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 20.iv.1969; AD, A34075). 11 km off Cape Northumberland, S. Aust., 48 m deep (Shepherd, 6.v.1975; AD, A46323). Off Barwon Heads, Vic., 20 m deep (Macpherson, 15.v.1963; AD, A28697). Cape Woolamai, Vic., 15–18 m deep, S side (Sorokin, 16.ii.1990; AD, A60199). Walkerville, Vic., drift (Sinkora A2566, 17.iii.1979; AD, A60984). Low Head, Tas., drift (G. & F. Perrin, May 1937; AD, A8985). Arch Rock, E of Ninepin Point, SE Tas., 5–8 m deep (Sanderson, 21.x.1994; AD, A63931).

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

Distribution: 8 km S of West I., S. Aust., to Walkerville, Vic., and around Tasmania.

Taxonomic notes: P. subulifera is also a deep-water species found on rough-water coasts, differing from P. australasica in width of branches.


AGARDH, J.G. (1890). Till algernes systematik. Acta Univ. lund. 26(3), 1–125, Plates 1–3.

CHIHARA, M. & YOSHIZAKI, M. (1978). Anatomical and reproductive features of Ptilonia okadai (Rhodophyta, Bonnemaisoniaceae). Phycologia 17, 382–387.

DE TONI, G.B. (1900b). Sylloge Algarum omnium hucusque Cognitarum. Vol. 4. Florideae. Sect. 2, pp. 387–776. (Padua.)

DE TONI, G.B. (1924). Sylloge Algarum omnium hucusque Cognitarum. Vol. 6. Florideae. (Padua.)

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

LEVRING, T. (1953). The marine algae of Australia. I. Rhodophyta: Goniotrichales, Bangiales and Nemalionales. Arkiv för Bot. Ser. 2, 2, 457–530.

LUCAS, A.H.S. (1913). Notes on Australian marine algae. I. Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 38, 49–60, Plates 1–5.

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

MAY, V. (1965). A census and key to the species of Rhodophyceae (red algae) recorded from Australia. Contr. N.S.W. natn. Herb. 3, 349–429.

TISDALL, H.T. (1898). The algae of Victoria. Rep. 7th Meet. Aust. Ass. Adv. Sci., Sydney, 1898, pp. 493–516.

WILSON, J.B. (1892). Catalogue of algae collected at or near Port Phillip Heads and Western Port. Proc. R. Soc. Vict. 4, 157–190.

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

Author: H.B.S. Womersley

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.

Illustration in Womersley Part IIIA, 1996: FIG. 159.

Figure 159 image

Figure 159   enlarge

Fig. 159. Ptilonia subulifera (A, AD, A60747; B, C, AD, A25429; D, E, AD, A63931). A. Habit. B. Transverse section of thallus. C. Branches with cystocarps. D. Longitudinal section of a cystocarp showing basal fusion cell, gonimoblast filaments and pericarp. E. Longitudinal section of a cystocarp through the ostiole.

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