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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Brongniartella australis (C. Agardh) Schmitz 1893: 218.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Family Rhodomelaceae – Tribe Lophothalieae

Selected citations: Adams 1994: 311, pl. 104, lower right. De Toni 1903: 1010. De Toni & Forti 1923: 44. Falkenberg 1901: 546, pl. 19 figs 6, 7. Guiler 1952: 103. Huisman & Walker 1990: 432. King et al. 1971: 123. Lucas 1909: 43; 1929a: 22; 1929b: 51. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 283, fig. 130. May 1965: 379. Parsons 1980: 278, figs 15–58, 61. Reinbold 1899: 48. Shepherd 1983: 83. Silva et al. 1996: 477. Womersley 1950: 185; 1966: 153.


Brongniartella australis f. recurva Parsons 1980: 287, figs 59, 62, 63.

Cladostephus australis C. Agardh 1824: 169,

Griffithsia australis (C. Agardh) C. Agardh 1828: 135.

Bindera australis (C. Agardh) Trevisan 1845: 63.

Polysiphonia australis (C. Agardh) J. Agardh 1863: 1044. Tisdall 1898: 514.

Lophothalia australis (C. Agardh) J. Agardh 1890: 59. Wilson 1892: 165.

Vertebrata australis (C. Agardh) Kuntze 1891: 928.

Polysiphonia byssoclados Harvey 1844b: 436; 1846: 423.

Bindera cladostephus Decaisne 1842: 358.

Polysiphonia cladostephus Montagne 1843: 302; 1845: 132, pl. 13 fig. 4. Harvey 1847: 45; 1855a: 541; 1859b: 301; 1860: pl. 154; 1863, synop.: xxi. Hooker & Harvey 1847: 400. Kützing 1849: 833; 1864: 6, pl. 19a-c. Sonder 1853: 701; 1880: 35. Tate 1882a: 23. Tisdall 1898: 514.

Thallus (Fig. 100A, B) dark brown to purple, 10–50 cm high with short prostrate axes producing erect, irregularly branched, branches for 3–4 orders, main lateral branches 5–25 cm long, lax or dense, with 7 pericentral cells, ecorticate, densely clothed with branched rhodoplastic trichoblasts (Fig. 100E), denuded below. Attachment by rhizoids from the prostrate axes; epilithic or on shells, occasionally epiphytic. Structure. Monopodial, apical cells dome-shaped, trichoblasts arising from axial cells 3–9 on a 1/7 spiral, the pericentral cells cut off in alternating sequence from about segment 10. Young branches 60–150 µm in diameter, mature branches 0.4–1 mm in diameter, segments throughout L/D 0.2–0.8 (–1.2). Trichoblasts on each segment, 1–2 mm long, usually upwardly curved to recurved, basally branched 3–4 times, 1–2 cells apart, walls not adherent at branchings, tapering gradually to long unbranched ends, basal cells 50–90 µm in diameter and L/D 2–3, mid cells 40–60 µm in diameter and L/D 3–5, upper cells (12–) 16–35 µm in diameter and L/D (2–) 4–6 (–30). Rhizoids arising from pericentral cells, unicellular with digitate haptera. Lateral branches arising on basal cells of trichoblasts. Cells multinucleate; rhodoplasts discoid to elongate, becoming chained.

Reproduction: Gametophytes dioecious. Procarps arising on the second cell of trichoblasts, which develops 5 pericentral cells, the last formed bearing a sterile initial, a 4-celled carpogonial branch and a second sterile cell, with the basal carpogonial branch cell dividing laterally. Carposporophyte with a basal fusion cell and branched gonimoblast bearing clavate to ovoid terminal carposporangia 35–55 µm in diameter. Cystocarps (Fig. 100C) sessile, ovoid to slightly urceolate, 600–1000 µm in diameter, without or with a slight to distinct neck; pericarp ostiolate, of 10–12 erect filaments, each cell cutting off 2 outer, isodiametric, cells and hence 2 cells thick, ecorticate. Spermatangial organs (Fig. 100D) on the ultimate branches of trichoblasts, ovoid, 45–140 µm in diameter and L/D 1–2 (–2.5), with a sterile basal cell but no sterile apical cells, with 5 (–6) pericentral cells around each axial cell producing initials and outer spermatangia.

Tetrasporangia in lesser branches or branch systems (Fig. 100E) 0.5–1 (–2) mm long and 120–220 µm in diameter, bearing simple or once branched trichoblasts, sporangia in a close spiral row (Fig. 100F), one per segment and bulging the branch, 70–110 µm in diameter with 2 large pre-sporangial cover cells.

Type from "Novam Hollandiam" (probably W. Aust); lectotype in PC; isolectotype in Herb. Agardh, LD, 41993.

Selected specimens: Whitfords Beach, Perth, W. Aust., 4 m deep (Cook, 20.viii.1979; AD, A51081). Wanna, S. Aust., lower eulittoral (Parsons, 15.v.1968; AD, A32585). N Spencer Gulf, S. Aust., 10 m deep (Shepherd, 13.ix.1973; AD, A44321). Stenhouse Bay, S. Aust., 3–4 m deep on jetty piles (Cannon, 15.x.1988; AD, A59172). Tapley Shoal, Gulf St Vincent, S. Aust., 10 m deep (Shepherd, 2.ii.1969; AD, A33480). 20 km WSW of Outer Harbor, S. Aust., 22–25 m deep (McFarlane, 11.ix.1975; AD, A46628). Victor Harbor, S. Aust., 2 m deep (Engler, 25.x.1981; AD, A63174). Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., low eulittoral (Womersley, 7.x.1997; AD, A67332). American R. inlet, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 30.x.1966; AD, A30898). Muston, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., 2–4 m deep (Min-Thein, 2.xii.1971; AD, A41143-"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 128). Robe, S. Aust., pools inside point (Womersley, 5.xii.1995; AD, A64757). Queenscliff, Vic., drift (Wollaston, 17.viii.1956; AD, A20554). Shoreham, Western Port, Vic., drift (Sinkora A1284, 29.x.1971; AD, A62696). Walkerville, Vic., upper sublittoral (Sinkora A2625, 19.xi.1979; AD, A61029). Sealers Cove, Wilsons Prom. Vic., (Mueller, MEL 45743–46). Bemm Reef, E. Vic., 15–17 m deep (Kraft & Foard, 8.ii.2001; MELU, 4119). Low Head, Tas., (Perrin, Jan. 1936; AD, A53625). Hope I., Dover, Tas., 2–4 m deep (Sanderson, 17.x.1994; AD, A64189). Bruny I., Tas., 2–3 m deep opposite Gordon (Brown, 10.x.1986; AD, A57834). Great Taylor Bay, Bruny I., Tas., 2–5 m deep (Shepherd, 14.ii.1972; AD, A42125).

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

Distribution: Whitfords Beach, W. Aust., around southern Australia to Bemm Reef, E Vic., and around Tasmania.

New Zealand, from Wellington south to Stewart I. (see Parsons 1980, p. 279).

Taxonomic notes: Brongniartella australis is a common species on rough-water to sheltered coasts, ranging from low tide level to deep water. Its structure and reproduction were described by Parsons (1980), who described forma recurva, distinguished by having recurved trichoblasts; this feature however is often found in specimens of the species.


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AGARDH, C.A. (1828). Species Algarum. Vol. 2. (Mauritius: Greifswald.)

AGARDH, J.G. (1863). Species Genera et Ordines Algarum. Vol. 2, Part 3, pp. 787–1291. (Gleerup: Lund.)

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

DE TONI, G.B. & FORTI, A. (1923). Alghe di Australia, Tasmania e Nouva Zelanda. Mem. R. Inst. Veneto Sci., Lett. Arti 29, 1–183, Plates 1–10.

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DECAISNE, J. (1842). Essais sur une classification des Algues et des Polypiers calcifères de Lamouroux. Ann. Sci. Nat., 2 Sér. Bot., 17, 297–380, Plates 14–17.

FALKENBERG, P. (1901). Die Rhodomelaceen des Golfes von Neapel und der angrenzenden Meeres-abschnitte. Fauna und Flora des Golfes von Neapel. Monogr. 26. (Friedländer: Berlin.)

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

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

HARVEY, W.H. (1846). Algae of Tasmania. Tas. Journal 2, 377–384, 421–427. [N.B. This is a reprint of Harvey 1844b.]

HARVEY, W.H. (1847). Nereis Australis, pp. 1–69, Plates 1–25. (Reeve: London.)

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.)

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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.

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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.

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

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PARSONS, M.J. (1980). The morphology and taxonomy of Brongniartella Bory sensu Kylin (Rhodomelaceae, Rhodophyta). Phycologia 19, 273–295.

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SONDER, O.W. (1880). In Mueller, F., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae. Supplementum ad volumen undecinum: Algae Australianae hactenus cognitae, pp. 1–42, 105–107. (Melbourne.)

TATE, R. (1882a). A list of the charas, mosses, liverworts, lichens, fungs, and algals of extratropical South Australia. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 4, 5–24.

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

TREVISAN, V.B.A. (1845). Nomenclator Algarum, ou collection des noms imposées aux plantes de la famille des algues, Vol. 1, 1–80. (Padova.)

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WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1950). The marine algae of Kangaroo Island. III. List of Species 1. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 73, 137–197.

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

Author: H.B.S. Womersley & M.J. Parsons

Publication: Womersley, H.B.S. (24 February, 2003)
The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia
Rhodophyta. Part IIID. Ceramiales – Delesseriaceae, Sarcomeniaceae, Rhodomelaceae
Reproduced with permission from The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia Part IIID 2003, by H.B.S. Womersley. Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra. Copyright Commonwealth of Australia.

Illustration in Womersley Part IIIA, 2003: FIG. 100.

Figure 100 image

Figure 100   enlarge

Fig. 100. Brongniartella australis (A, AD, A41143; B, AD, A64757; C, E, AD, A57834; D, F, AD, A67332). A. Habit, calm-water form. B. Habit, rough-water form. C. Branch with cystocarps. D. Branch with spermatangial organs. E. Compound branch with tetrasporangia. F. Tetrasporangia spirally arranged, segments with trichoblasts.

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