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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Chondria bulbosa Harvey 1859b: 297; 1863, synop.: xix.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Family Rhodomelaceae – Tribe Chondrieae

Selected citations: Gordon-Mills & Womersley


1987: 526, figs 12G, H, 17C, D, 18. Reinbold 1898: 49. Silva et al. 1996: 480.

Rhododactylis bulbosa (Harvey) J. Agardh 1876: 568; 1892: 159. De Toni 1900: 487. Lucas 1909: 31. May 1965: 393.

Chondriopsis bulbosa (Harvey) J. Agardh 1890: 49.

Chondria suprabulbosa Gordon-Mills & Womersley 1987: 524, figs 12D–F, 15F–H, 16, 17A, B.

Thallus (Fig. 187A, B) medium to dark red to red-brown, 10–30 cm high, with one to several erect axes irregularly radially branched for 3–4 orders, lower parts of axes often sparsely branched, upper often with long laterals; lower axes 0.8–2 mm in diameter, grading to lesser branchlets 200–600 µm in diameter; base of axes usually swollen to 3 mm in diameter and 5–15 mm long with starch-filled cells, and bulbous swellings (Fig. 187B, D) 0.6–1 (–2) mm in diameter often occur on upper branches in tetrasporangial plants. Holdfast discoid to conical, 1.5–4 (–10) mm across; epilithic, usually in deep water. Structure. Apices attenuate to slightly depressed, mature epidermal cells 20–30 µm in diameter and L/D (1.5–) 3–8; axes with slight to moderate rhizoid development around the pericentral and inner cortical cells; secondary cortex extensive on lower axes in some plants. Cells of the basal and upper swellings usually starch-filled (except the epidermis); these may act as storage organs or propagules. Cell wall thickenings absent or occurring as band-like caps or bands (Fig. 187E, F) around the centre of pericentral (and some inner cortical) cells. Cells with discoid rhodoplasts, chained in larger cells.

Reproduction: Gametophytes dioecious. Procarps not observed. Carposporophytes with a basal fusion cell and short, branched, gonimoblast with clavate terminal carposporangia 35–50 µm in diameter. Cystocarps (Fig. 187G) broadly ovoid to slightly urceolate, 0.8–1.25 mm in diameter, short-stalked, without a spur; pericarp with a broad ostiole, 2 cells thick, ecorticate. Spermatangial plates (Fig. 187H) developed from a basal branch of a trichoblast, irregularly reniform, 500–750 µm across, with a sterile margin usually 1 (–2) cells broad.

Tetrasporangia (Fig. 188A, B) in lesser branchlets, on 2–3 pericentral cells per axial cell, 180–250 (–400) µm in diameter.

Type from E coast of Tasmania (Gunn); lectotype in Herb. Harvey, TCD (right hand part of specimen).

Selected specimens: Port Denison, W. Aust., 10–13 m deep (Kraft 7041 & Allender, 10.viii.1979; MELU). Pearson Is, S. Aust., 36 m deep (Shepherd, 10.i.1969; AD, A34113). Point Turton, Yorke Pen., S. Aust., 8–10 m deep (Kald, 5.ix.1970; AD, A37250) and drift (Womersley, 16.x.1988; AD, A59132-"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 320). Investigator Strait, S. Aust., 33 m deep (Watson, 24.i.1971; AD, A41070) and 34 m deep (Watson, 20.i.1971; AD, A39227). 10 km W of Outer Harbour, S. Aust., 23 m deep on "John Robb" wreck (R. Lewis, 10.ix.1972; AD, A42647). 20 km WSW of Outer Harbour, S. Aust., 22–25 m deep (McFarlane, 11.ix.1975; AD, A46636). Grange, S. Aust., 20 m deep on artificial reef (Branden, 4.ix.1985; AD, A56589). 5 km W of Port Noarlunga, S. Aust., 21 m deep (Ottaway, 8.xii.1980; AD, A52127). Saunders Beach, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 25.viii.1963; AD, A26708). Cape Jaffa, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 25.xi.1992; AD, A61788). Crawfish Rock, Westernport Bay, Vic., 0–3 m deep (Watson, 15.ix.1968; AD, A32767). Arch Rock, Ninepin Point, Tas., 5–8 m deep (Sanderson, 21.x.1994; AD, A63942). Great Taylor Bay, Bruny I., Tas., 19 m deep (Shepherd, 14.ii.1972: AD, A42161).

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

Distribution: Port Denison, W. Aust., to Cape Jaffa, S. Aust., and E Tasmania.

Taxonomic notes: Chondria bulbosa is a deep-water species characterised by swollen, elongate, organs at the base of the axes and also by bulbous ones on the upper branches; they may be storage organs or even propagules.

Several plants (AD, A59132, A39227 and A61788) are now known which show both the elongate basal swellings and the upper bulbous ones, so the separation of C. suprabulbosa on the latter feature is no longer tenable. The only other significant difference was very large tetrasporangia in C. suprabulbosa, but these (in AD, A38453) appear to be lightly-staining and unusually large aberrant sporangia as occasionally found, and most mature (i.e. divided) tetrasporangia are within the range cited above.


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

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

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

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

GORDON-MILLS, E.M. & WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1987). The genus Chondria C. Agardh (Rhodomelaceae, Rhodophyta) in southern Australia. Aust. J. Bot. 35, 477–565.

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

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.

REINBOLD, T. (1898). Die Algen der Lacepede und Guichen Bay (Süd Australien) und deren näherer Umgebung, gesammelt von Dr. A. Engelhart-Kingston. II. Nuova Notarisia 9, 33–54.

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

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

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.

Illustrations in Womersley Part IIIA, 2003: FIGS 187, 188A, B.

Figure 187 image

Figure 187   enlarge

Fig. 187. Chondria bulbosa (A, AD, A39227; B, AD, A59132; C, AD, A52127; D–F, AD, A41070; G, AD, A42647; H, AD, A37250). A. Habit, plant with basal bulbous swellings. B. Habit, plant with basal and upper bulbous swellings. C. Transverse section of branch. D. Upper bulbous swellings. E. Transverse sections with wall thickenings. F. Longitudinal view with wall thickenings. G. Cystocarp. H. Spermatangial plate.

Figure 188 image

Figure 188   enlarge

Fig. 188. A, B. Chondria bulbosa (AD, A37250). A. Branches with tetrasporangia. B. Branch with tetrasporangia. C–H. Chondria incurva (C, AD, A41407; D, E. AD, A53370; F, AD, A34967; G, AD, A37593; H, AD, A42363). C. Habit. D. Transverse section of branch. E. Cystocarp. F. Spermatangial plate. G. Branch apex with tetrasporangia. H. Transverse section with tetrasporangia.

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