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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Ceramium cliftonianum J. Agardh 1876: 93; 1894: 16.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Order Ceramiales – Family Ceramiaceae – Tribe Ceramieae

Selected citations: Allender 1981: 19. De Toni 1903: 1449. Huisman & Walker 1990: 421. Millar & Kraft 1993: 38. Silva et al. 1996: 392. Sonder 1881: 12. Womersley 1978: 240, figs 4G, H, 15F–J.


Apona cliftoniana (J. Agardh) Kuntze 1898: 395.

C. ramulosum Hooker & Harvey 1847: 410. J. Agardh 1851: 121; 1876: 95; 1894: 15. De Toni 1903: 1446. Guiler 1952: 98. Harvey 1859b: 330; 1863, synop.: xlviii. Lucas 1909: 52; 1929a: 26. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 365. Sonder 1853: 676; 1881: 12. Tisdall 1898: 503. Wilson 1892: 185. [NON C. ramulosum Meneghini 1844: 185 (from the Adriatic) = C. ciliatum (Ellis) Ducluzeau.]

Gongroceras ramulosum (Hooker & Harvey) Kützing 1849: 678; 1862: 25, pl. 81 a-d.

C. deslongchampsii sensu Hooker & Harvey 1847: 410. Lucas 1909: 53; 1929a: 26. Guiler 1952: 98. (See Harvey 1859b: 330.)

C. nodosum sensu Hooker & Harvey 1847: 410 (see Harvey 1859b: 330).

C. tenuissimum sensu Lucas 1909: 53. Guiler 1952: 99.

C. fastigiatum sensu Harvey 1855a: 557; 1863, synop.: xlviii. Guiler 1952: 98. Lucas 1909: 53. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 366. Sonder 1881: 12. Tisdall 1898: 503. Wilson 1892: 184.

Thallus (Fig. 189F) light to dark red, forming erect, often much branched or entangled tufts from 3 mm to 10 (–15) cm high, with prostrate branches; branching in actively growing erect parts subcomplanate with fairly regular laterals usually 3–6 cells apart with broad axils, but often more irregular and sparse, commonly with older branches bearing proliferous laterals which are often markedly slenderer. Attachment by uniseriate rhizoids with pads becoming multicellular, 1–3 rhizoids arising from the periaxial cells at each node; epilithic or on other firm substrates (e.g. tunicates) or epiphytic. Structure. Branches 100–300 (–400) µm in diameter below, tapering gradually or more abruptly to (25–) 50–75 (–100) µm in diameter below the tapering apices, which are straight or occasionally slightly involute or divergent. Axial cells L/D about 1 near the apices (Fig. 189H, I), elongating to 2–3 (–4) below, with clear internodal spaces throughout. Periaxial cells usually 6, each first cutting off 2 cells acropetally and usually soon after 2 cells basipetally (Fig. 190G, H); acropetal cortical cells usually each cutting off 1 or 2 smaller cells, giving a node 4 cells and 30–50 µm long in the upper parts (Fig. 190G); on older, lower, branches further acropetal cells, and sometimes basipetal ones, may be cut off, giving a node 5–6 (–9) cells and 75–125 µm long, with the acropetal development always greater (and usually with smaller cells) than the basipetal; internodal space 0.5–1 times the nodal length in upper parts, and 1–3 (–4) times as long in lower parts of the thallus. On lower branches, occasional small cortical cells may be cut off in the reverse direction, and in some robust specimens a slight outer cortex may develop on the oldest parts; slender hairs commonly present on cortical cells near branch apices. Rhodoplasts discoid in smaller cells, ribbon like and longitudinal in axial cells.

Reproduction: Gametophytes dioecious. Carposporophytes (Fig. 189G) on upper branches, globular, 150–250 (–300) µm across, with 1–4 slightly curved involucral branchlets, carposporangia ovoid-angular, 20–30 across. Spermatangia (Fig. 189H) covering cortical cells of upper nodes, sometimes largely restricted to the adaxial sides..

Type from W. Aust. (Harvey); holotype in Herb. Agardh, LD, 20690.

Selected specimens: Jackson I., Houtman Abrolhos, W. Aust., on Kallymenia, 12–15 m deep (Kraft & Huisman, 14.x.1990; MELU). Marjorie Bay, Rottnest I., W. Aust., on Posidonia australis (Cambridge, 20.i.1974; AD, A47074). Pearson I., S. Aust., 35 m deep (Shepherd, 10.i.1969; AD, A34110). Douglas Bark, N Spencer Gulf, S. Aust., 10 m deep (Johnson, 16.vii.1975; AD, A47992). West I., S. Aust., 20–23 m deep (Shepherd, 8.x.1966; AD, A30860). Strawbridge Point, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 29.x.1995; AD, A64621 -"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 390). Stinky Bay, Nora Creina, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 19.viii.1957; AD, A21265). Port Phillip Bay, Vic., power station outfall, 3 m deep (Watson, 1.v.1972; AD, A42349). Gellibrand Light, Port Phillip Bay, Vic., 6–8 m deep (Kraft & J. Lewis, 9.xii.1975; AD, A48000). Leading Lights, Tamar Estuary, Tas., (Perrin, 25.ii.1948; AD, A48181).

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

Distribution from Houtman Abrolhos, W. Aust. to Port Stephens, N.S.W. (Millar & Kraft 1993, p. 38), and around Tasmania.

Taxonomic notes: Tetrasporangia (Fig. 189I) in unilateral, abaxial series, 1–3 per node, cut off from one (or 2) periaxial cells, involucrate over their lower half or less by branched acropetal cortical filaments 3–4 cells long from the periaxial cells, with the involucral cells lying in the outer part of the common gelatinous sheath with the tetrasporangia centrally situated; tetrasporangia subspherical to ovoid, 35–50 (–75) µm across, tetrahedrally (rarely decussately) divided.

C. cliftonianum is a moderately common species along southern Australia, from 1–35 m depth, occurring as tufts or often entangled masses of slender filaments, in moderate water movement. It is characterised by its dimensions, the nodal development, and the unilateral, half involucrate tetrasporangia. There is, however, considerable variation, especially in development of the basipetal cortical cells with occasional specimens having them only on the older branches.

The type material of C. cliftonianum is smaller but otherwise identical in dimensions, nodal development and tetrasporangia with that of C. ramulosum Hooker & Harvey from Tasmania (Gunn in BM). The latter species was distributed by Harvey as Alg. Aust. Exsicc. 469 I from Georgetown, Tas.

C. cliftonianum appears closely related to C. diaphanum (Lightfoot) Roth [C. tenuissimum (Roth) J. Agardh] in cortical appearance and in having unilateral, abaxial and involucrate tetrasporangia, but the latter usually has gland cells and comparisons of the cortical development are still needed.

C. cliftonianum also appears to be closely related in dimensions, nodal cortication and tetrasporangial arrangement to C. cimbricum Petersen in Rosenvinge 1924, p. 378 (C. fastigiatum Harvey) from Britain (see Maggs & Hommersand 1993, p. 49). However C. cliftonianum rarely has the strongly fastigiate habit of the latter but is usual ly more irregular in its branching. Detailed study may show that C. cliftonianum is inseparable from one of these older species, but for the present it seems best to keep the Australian taxon separate.

Some specimens of C. cliftonianum show similarity with slender specimens of C. tasmanicum, but the latter is normally readily separated in well grown plants by the extending cortex on older branches and by the whorled and not unilateral tetrasporangia.

C. macilentum often occurs together with C. cliftonianum but the latter differs clearly in not having pseudoperiaxial cells and normally greater basipetal and acropetal cell development.


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

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

ALLENDER, B.M. (1981). The distribution of benthic macroflora in the Swan River Estuary, Western Australia. J. Roy. Soc. Western Australia 4(1), 17–22.

DE TONI, G.B. (1903). Sylloge Algarum omnium hucusque Cognitarum. Vol. 4. Florideae. Sect. 3, pp. 775–1521 + 1523–1525. (Padua.)

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

HARVEY, W.H. (1855a). Some account of the marine botany of the colony of Western Australia. Trans. R. Jr. Acad. 22, 525–566.

HARVEY, W.H. (1859b). Algae. In Hooker, J.D., The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage. III. Flora Tasmaniae. Vol. II, pp. 282–343, Plates 185–196. (Reeve: London.)

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

HOOKER, J.D. & HARVEY, W.H. (1847). Algae Tasmanicae. Lond. J. Bot. 6, 397–417.

HUISMAN, J.M. & WALKER, D.I. (1990). A catalogue of the marine plants of Rottnest Island, Western Australia, with notes on their distribution and biogeography. Kingia 1, 349–459.

KÜTZING, F.T. (1849). Species Algarum. (Leipzig.)

KÜTZING, F.T. (1862). Tabulae Phycologicae. Vol 12. (Nordhausen.)

KUNTZE, O. (1898). Revisio generum Plantarum. Part III. 2. Algae, pp. 385–437. (Leipzig.)

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

LUCAS, A.H.S. (1909). Revised list of the Fucoideae and Florideae of Australia. Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 34, 9–60.

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

MAGGS, C.A. & HOMMERSAND, M.H. (1993). Seaweeds of the British Isles. Vol. 1. Rhodophyta. Part 3A, Ceramiales. (HMSO: London.)

MENEGHINI, G. (1844). Del genre Ceramium e di alcune sue specie. G. Bot. Ital. 1, 178–186.

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.

ROSENVINGE, L.K. (1924). The marine algae of Denmark. Contributions to their natural history. Part III. Rhodophyceae III (Ceramiales). K. danske Vidensk. Selsk. Skr 7, 287–486, Plates 5–7. (Lipsiae.)

SILVA, P.C., BASSON, P.W. & MOE, R.L. (1996). Catalogue of the Benthic Marine Algae of the Indian Ocean. (University of California Press: Berkeley, Los Angeles & London.)

SONDER, O.W. (1853). Plantae Muellerianae. Algae. Linnaea 25, 657–709.

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

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.

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1978). Southern Australian species of Ceramium Roth (Rhodophyta). Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res. 29, 205–257.

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

Author: H.B.S. Womersley

Publication: Womersley, H.B.S. (24 December, 1998)
The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia
Rhodophyta. Part IIIC. Ceramiales – Ceramiaceae, Dasyaceae
©State Herbarium of South Australia, Government of South Australia

Illustrations in Womersley Part IIIA, 1998: FIGS 189 F–J, 190G, H.

Figure 189 image

Figure 189   enlarge

Fig. 189. A–E. Ceramium filiculum (A, AD, A15104; B–E, AD, A47978). A. Habit. B. Rhizoidal holdfast, viewed from below. C. Carposporophyte with involucral branches. D. Branches with spermatangia. E. Branches with opposite, involucrate tetrasporangia. F–I. Ceramium cliftonianum (F–H, AD, A34110; I, AD, A30860). F. Habit. G. Carposporophyte on plant with few basipetal cortical cells. H. Branches with spermatangia. I. Branches with involucrate, abaxial tetrasporangia and normal formation of basipetal cortical cells. (All in Womersley 1978, courtesy of Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res.)

Figure 190 image

Figure 190   enlarge

Fig. 190. A–D. Ceramium flaccidum (A, B, AD, A43757; C, D, AD, A42759). A. Nodes of a young branch with single basipetal periaxial derivatives. B. Older nodes with most basipetal derivatives divided; a single clavate hair present. C. Node of more robust form showing cortical lineages and one acropetal gland cell. D. Node on older branch with slight outer cortex and several gland cells. E, F. Ceramium filiculum (AD, A32635). E. Node of young branch. F. Node of older mature branch. G, H. Ceramium cliftonianum (G, AD, A30860; H, AD, A34110). G. Cortex of node of robust plant, with regular basipetal cells. H. Nodal cortex of slender plant with 2 basipetal cells. (All as in Womersley 1978, courtesy of Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res.)

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