Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
Census of SA Plants, Algae & Fungi
Identification tools

Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Warrenia comosa (Harvey) Harvey ex Schmitz & Hauptfleisch 1897: 492.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Order Ceramiales – Family Ceramiaceae – Tribe Warrenieae

Selected citations: Kützing 1862: 13, pl. 39 figs a, b. Lucas 1909:50; 1929a: 24; 1929b: 52. Wollaston 1971: 291, figs 1–22.


Callithamnion comosum Harvey 1844: 451; 1859b: 333; 1863, synop.: liii. J. Agardh 1876: 19. Sonder 1881:10.

Phlebothamnion comosum (Harvey) Kützing 1847: 52.

Wrangelia comosa sensu Kützing 1849: 664 (NON Harvey in Hooker & Harvey 1847: 411).

Antithamnion comosum (Harvey) J. Agardh 1892: 21.

Thallus (Fig. 1A) erect, 5–30 (–35) cm high, profusely and irregularly branched with the main branches bearing opposite indeterminate branches and becoming corticated below by entwined branched filaments. Structure. Growth by transverse divisions of the apical cell, with series of short subapical cells (Fig. 2A) cutting off first one lateral whorl-branchlet and later a second, so that each axial cell bears two opposite whorl-branchlets (Fig. 1B); whorl-branchlets more or less determinate, becoming irregularly branched with 1–3 branches per cell, cells 6–10 (–12) µm in diameter and L/D 3–10 (–20); axial cells enlarging greatly, when mature 250–500 µm in diameter and L/D 1.2–2 (–3); corticating filaments (Fig. 1C) developing upwards from the distal ends of periaxial cells and downwards from the proximal ends, becoming dense around and completely covering the lower axial cells, often densest around the ends of the axial cells giving a nodose appearance; gland cells (Fig. 2B) present on lateral branchlets, more or less ovoid, 7–12 µm across. Cells multinucleate; rhodoplasts reticulate.

Reproduction: Gametophytes dioecious. Carpogonial branches (Fig. 2C) 4-celled, borne singly and directly on the lower part of any cell of a lateral branchlet, or occasionally on an indeterminate branch, lying upwards along the bearing (supporting) cell. Post-fertilization, an auxiliary cell is cut off from the upper end of the supporting cell, and fusion with the fertilized carpogonium occurs via a connecting cell, then producing three gonimoblast initials and lobes of carposporangia. Sterile involucral branchlets develop from cells below (and from) the supporting cell and loosely surround the carposporophyte (Fig. 2D) which is 100–400 µm across. Spermatangia are borne oppositely or in slight whorls on short branches (Fig. 2E) of 5–8 cells borne adaxially on the whorl-branchlets; spermatangia ovoid, 1.5–2.5 µm in diameter.

Tetrasporangia develop terminally on short branches (Fig. 1D, 2F) 1–3 (–6) cells long, borne on lower cells of the whorl-branchlets, ovoid, 18–28 µm in diameter, decussately (occasionally cruciately) divided.

Type from Georgetown, Tas. (Gunn); lectotype Gunn 1303 in Herb. Harvey, TCD (Wollaston 1971).

Selected specimens: Off Waldegrave I., S. Aust., 21 m deep (Shepherd, 30.x.1983; AD, A54503). N Spencer Gulf, S. Aust., 20 m deep (Johnson, 19.xi.1975; AD, A54895). Port Pirie, S. Aust., 9 m deep (Branden, 15.ix.1987; AD, A59319). Investigator Strait, S. Aust., 33 m deep (Watson, 24.i.1971; AD, A41072). Inside Tapley Shoal, Gulf St Vincent, S. Aust., 13 m deep (Shepherd, 2.ii.1969; AD, A34443). Off Troubridge Light, S. Aust., 17 m deep (Shepherd, 4.ii.1969; AD, A33412). 1 km N of Port Stanvac, S. Aust., 13 m deep (Rowland, 6.iii.1988; AD, A58634). Ironstone Point, E of Penneshaw, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., 15m deep (Layers, 1.ii.1996; AD, A64628). Pennington Bay, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., drift (Wollaston, 11.ii.1956; AD, A20153). Queenscliff, Vic., drift (Norris, 21.i.1963; AD, A25786). Walkerville, Vic., drift (Sinkora A2252, 2.iii.1976; AD, A48512). Georgetown, Tas. (Perrin, 24.ii.1946; AD, A49666). Taroona, Tas., 3–6 m deep (Shepherd, 4.ii.1970; AD, A35167). Satellite I., D'Entrecasteaux Channel, Tas., 10 m deep (Shepherd, 18.ii.1972; AD, A41703). Great Taylor Bay, Bruny I., Tas., 10 m deep (Shepherd, 7.ii.1970; AD, A35266).

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

Distribution: Waldegrave I., S. Aust. to Walkerville, Vic., and around Tasmania.


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

AGARDH, J.G. (1892). Analecta Algologica. Acta Univ. lund. 28, 1–182, Plates 1–3.

HARVEY, W.H. (1844). Algae of Tasmania. Lond. J. Bot. 3, 428–454.

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.

KÜTZING, F.T. (1847). Diagnosen and Bemerkungen zu neuen oder kritischen Algen. Bot. Zeit. 5, 1–5, 22–25, 33–38, 52–55, 164–167, 177–180, 193–198, 219–223.

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

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

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.

LUCAS, A.H.S. (1929b). A census of the marine algae of South Australia. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 53, 45–53.

SCHMITZ, F. & HAUPTFLEISCH, P. (1897). Ceramiaceae. In Engler, A. & Prantl, K., Die natarlichen Pflanzenfamilien, Vol. 1, Part 2, pp. 481–504. (Leipzig.)

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

WOLLASTON, E.M. (1971). The morphology and relationships of Warrenia comosa (Harvey) Kützing. Phycologia 10, 291–298.

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

Author: E.M. Wollaston & 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 1, 2 A–F.

Figure 1 image

Figure 1   enlarge

Fig. 1. Warrenia comosa (A, AD, A33412; B, C, AD, A64628; D, AD, A35266). A. Habit. B. Young branch with opposite whorl-branchlets. C. Older branch with whorl-branchlets and cortication on axial cells. D. Young branch with whorl-branchlets bearing tetrasporangia.

Figure 2 image

Figure 2   enlarge

Fig. 2. A–F. Warrenia comosa (A–D, AD, A34443; E, AD, A35167; F, AD, A35266). A. Branch apex with whorl-branchlets. B. Gland cells on whorl-branchlets. C. A carpogonial branch. D. A carposporophyte with clusters of carposporangia, surrounded by involucral filaments. E. Spermatangial branchlets. F. A whorl-branchlet with tetrasporangia. G. Wrangelia abietina (AD, A30841). Branch apex with whorl-branchlets. (A–F as in Wollaston 1971, courtesy of Phycologia; G as in Gordon 1972, courtesy of Aust. J. Bot.).

Disclaimer Copyright Disclaimer Copyright Email Contact:
State Herbarium of South Australia
Government of South Australia Government of South Australia Government of South Australia Department for Environment and Water