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Wollastoniella mucronata (Harvey) Gordon 1972: 97, figs 33C, D, 34, 59B.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Order Ceramiales – Family Ceramiaceae – Tribe Sphondylothamnieae


Wrangelia mucronata Harvey 1859b: 309, pl. 191B; 1863, synop.: xxviii. J. Agardh 1876: 616. De Toni 1897: 127. Guiler 1952: 99. Lucas 1909: 22; 1929a: 16. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 135. May 1965: 365. Sonder 1881: 28. Tisdall 1898: 511. Wilson 1892: 170.

Thallus (Figs 30C, 33A) dark red-brown, 5–10 (–15) cm high, main branches fastigiate, up to 5 orders, arising from entwined, prostrate, matted branches. Holdfast matted, 4–10 mm across, rhizoidal with haptera; epilithic. Structure. Subapical cells producing 3 (–4) fastigiate whorl-branchlets (Fig. 33B), 1/3 to 2/3 the length of the axial cell above, pseudodi- or trichotomously branched once or twice, cells rigid, terminal cells small and mucronate, median cells 90–160 µm in diameter and L/D 5–7; lower axial cells 160–180 µm in diameter and 2–3.5 mm long. Up to 2 indeterminate branches formed on axial cells in addition to whorl-branchlets, apices occasionally villose in reproductive plants. Axes not corticated below. Cells multinucleate; rhodoplasts discoid.

Reproduction: Female axes (Fig. 33C) 6–7 cells long, the upper 4 cells small and densely protoplasmic, with the procarp, supporting and auxiliary cells and sterile cells as in W. myriophylloides, the carposporophyte (Fig. 33D) 350–550 µm across, producing clavate carposporangia 50–90 µm in diameter, surrounded by an inner involucre of 4 branches from the sterile procarp cells, with a loose outer involucrum from lower whorl-branchlets. Spermatangia unknown.

Tetrasporangia (Fig. 33E) are borne terminally or laterally on small cells of modified whorl-branchlets near apices of short indeterminate axes, 100–150 µm in diameter, tetrahedrally (rarely octohedrally) divided.

Type from Tasmania (Gunn) – probably N coast; holotype in Herb. Harvey, TCD.

Selected specimens: 600 m off Middle Point, Cape Northumberland, S. Aust., 5 m deep (Shepherd, 19.i i i.1974; AD, A44928). Port MacDonnell, S. Aust., drift (Warnersley, 19.viii.1953; AD, A18987). Lighthouse Reef, Point Lonsdale, Vic. 2–3m deep (Kraft 6034,14.ii.1977; MELU and AD, A67795). Shack Bay, Inverloch, Vic., 2–3m deep (Kraft 5614 & J. Lewis, 17.x.1975; MELU and AD, A67796). Currie R., Tas. (ex Tilden, Nov. 1934; AD, A49577) and (Perrin, Jan. 1938; MEL, 15322).

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

Distribution: Cape Northumberland to Inverloch, Vic., and N coast of Tasmania.

Taxonomic notes: W. mucronata is a distinctive but apparently rare species, with long branches bearing whorls of short branchlets with mucronate terminal cells. It often forms a turf in relatively shallow water.


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

DE TONI, G.B. (1897). Sylloge Algarum omnium hucusque Cognitarum. Vol. 4. Florideae. Sect. 1, pp. 1–388. (Padua.)

GORDON, E.M. (1972). Comparative morphology and taxonomy of the Wrangelieae, Sphondylothamnieae and Spermothamnieae (Ceramiaceae, Rhodophyta). Aust. J. Bot. suppl. 4, 1–180.

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

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.)

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.

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.

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.

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 30C, 33.

Figure 30 image

Figure 30   enlarge

Fig. 30. A. Drewiana nitella (AD, A29688). B. Wollastoniella myriophylloides (AD, A35939). C. Wollastoniella mucronata (AD, A18987). D. Shepleya wattsii (AD, A31162). Habit in each case. (A and D as in Gordon 1972, courtesy of Aust. J. Bot.)

Figure 33 image

Figure 33   enlarge

Fig. 33. Wollastoniella mucronata (A, B, E, AD, A18987; C, D, MEL, 15322). A. Habit. B. Indeterminate apex with whorl-branchlets. C. Branch apex with a procarp. D. Young carposporophyte with fusion cell and part of inner involucrum. E. Axial cell with whorl-branchlets bearing tetrasporangia. (All as in Gordon 1972, courtesy of Aust. J. Bot.)

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