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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Dictyomenia harveyana Sonder 1853: 698; 1855: 523; 1880: 33.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Family Rhodomelaceae – Tribe Pterosiphonieae

Selected citations: J. Agardh 1863: 1079; 1885: 104; 1897: 62. De Toni 1903: 983. Falkenberg 1901: 283, pl. 19 fig. 17. Guiler 1952: l 05. Harvey 1859b: 295; 1863, synop.: xviii. Kützing 1864: 33, pl. 95a, b. Levring 1946: 226. Lucas 1909: 42; 1929a: 22; 1929b: 51. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 282, fig. 129. May 1965: 395. Reinbold 1897: 56. Shepherd 1983: 83. Shepherd & Womersley 1981: 367. Silva et al. 1996: 488. Tate 1882a: 22. Tisdall 1898: 513. Wilson 1892: 167. Womersley 1950: 188; 1966: 154.


Dictyomenia harveyana var. flabelligera Harvey 1863, synop.: xviii.

Dictyomenia tridens sensu Harvey 1844b: 430; 1846: 381; 1847: 28, pl. 7. J. Agardh 1863: 1081 (in part).

Dictyomenia spinulosa Kützing 1864: 34, pl. 97c-e. De Toni 1903: 988. Lucas 1909: 42. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 282. May 1965: 395. Silva et al. 1996: 489. Sonder 1880: 33.

? Dictyomenia interstincta J. Agardh 1885: 105; 1897: 61. De Toni 1903: 985. Lucas 1909: 42. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 281. May 1965: 395. Silva et al. 1996: 489.

Thallus (Fig. 152A) medium to dark brown-red, erect, 10–40 cm high, complanately and usually regularly pinnately branched for 3 or 4 orders, with flat main axes (1–) 2–5 mm broad bearing lateral branches 2–15 mm apart, the lesser branches (Fig. 152B) with alternate determinate laterals (bearing trichoblasts), 2–3 mm long and 2–3 mm apart, with branches more-or-less terete. Midrib of main branches present but not conspicuous, lateral veins also inconspicuous. Main branches corticated, heavily so near thallus base where blades are lost, giving a subterete stalk 1–3 mm thick. Holdfast branched or fibrous, 5–15 mm across; epilithic or on shells. Structure. Apical cell hemispherical to dome-shaped, 12–16 µm in diameter, with the axial cells branching alternately distichously 2–4 cells apart, cutting off 6 pericentral cells with 2 larger lateral ones and 2 smaller ones on each side, but of equal size in the terete branches of the ecorticate determinate laterals (which can become indeterminate). Lateral pericentral cells of the indeterminate branches divide laterally to form rows of 4–6 cells in the 2–5 mm broad branches (fewer in slender thalli) which become lightly corticated from close to the apices. Determinate branches 60–270 µm in diameter, with segments L/D (0.6–) 0.8–1.5, with trichoblasts from each segment near their apices, branched, 1–2 mm long, lower cells 20–30 µm in diameter and L/D 3–4 (basal cells isodiametric). Cells uninucleate; rhodoplasts discoid.

Reproduction: Propagules (Fig. 152C) often formed abundantly and terminally on determinate branches, flat, ovate, 1–1.5 mm long, 400–600 µm broad, with 3–4 short spinous laterals and with a dormant apex, borne on a slender terete stalk.

All reproductive organs occur on the marginal determinate laterals.

Gametophytes dioecious. Procarps borne on the second cell of trichoblasts, which rapidly cuts off 5 pericentral cells, with the supporting cell cutting off a 4-celled carpogonial branch and a group of sterile cells. Carposporophytes with a basal fusion cell and branched gonimoblast with elongate-ovoid to clavate terminal carposporangia 40–80 µm in diameter. Cystocarps (Fig. 152D) on branches of determinate laterals, short stalked, subspherical to ovoid, 500–1200 µm in diameter; pericarp ostiolate, 3 cells thick, corticated. Spermatangial organs (Fig. 152E) replacing trichoblasts, elongate and tapering apically with 1 (–2) sterile basal cells and a sterile apical cell, 40–80 µm in diameter and 180–360 µm long.

Tetrasporangia (Fig. 152F) in terete branches of the determinate laterals, single per segment, in slightly spiral rows with 1–4 mature, 120–180 µm in diameter, with 2 cover cells.

Lectotype from LeFevre Pen., S. Aust. (Mueller, July 1952) in Herb. Sonder, MEL, 653127 (lower of 2 sheets); isolectotypes MEL, 653124–653130. Syntype from VDL, MEL, 653123.

Selected specimens: Port Denison, W. Aust., drift (Kraft, 14.xii.1971; MELU, K4160). Yanchep, W. Aust., drift (Womersley, 22.ix.1979; AD, A51266). Nuyts Reef, S. Aust., 28–30 m deep (Shepherd, 26.iii.1980; AD, A52321). Elliston, S. Aust., 7 m deep in bay (Shepherd, 20.x.1970; AD, A37631). N Spencer Gulf, S. Aust., 10 m deep (Shepherd, 6.ix.1973; AD, A44486) and 16 m deep (Shepherd, 7.ix.1973; AD, A44302). Tiparra Reef, S. Aust., 11 m deep (Shepherd, 24.ix.1971; AD, A39714). Investigator Strait, S. Aust., 33 m deep (Watson, 24.i.1971; AD, A41075). Port Noarlunga, S. Aust., 24 m deep 5 km offshore (Ottaway, 3.ii.1981; AD, A52087). Gulf St Vincent, S. Aust., 15–19 m deep (R. Lewis, 3.xii.1986; AD, A57312). Victor Harbor, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 17.x.1948; AD, A9258). Muston, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., 2–3 m (Womersley, 21.xi.1968; AD, A32947) and 4–5 m deep (Shepherd, 29.xii.1977; AD, A48964-"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 419). Seal Bay, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 29.x.1966; AD, A31023). Stanley Beach, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 27.i.1957; AD, A20834). Cape Jaffa, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 22.xi.1998; AD, A67965). Double Corner Beach, Portland, Vic., drift (Beauglehole, 14.vii.1951; AD, A21596). San Remo, Vic., drift (Sinkora A671, 11.vii.1970; AD, A62702). Crawfish Rock, Westernport Bay, Vic., 4–5 m deep (Watson, 26.iv.1969; AD, A34305). Walkerville, Vic., drift (Sinkora A1841, 6.xii.1973; AD, A53533). Gabo I., Vic., 22 m deep (Millar & O'Brien, 4.xii.1996; NSW, 438953). Port Sorell, N Tas., drift (Womersley, 9.xi.1982; AD, A56241). Georgetown, Tas. (Perrin & Lucas, Jan. 1931; AD, A50192). Cloudy Lagoon, SE Tas., 1–3 m deep (Edgar, 12.ii.1995; AD, A64236). Arch Rock, Ninepin Point, Tas., 5–8 m deep (Sanderson, 21.x.1994; AD, A63930). W of Green Cape Lighthouse, Disaster Bay, N.S.W., 28 m deep (Millar et al., 28.i.1996; NSW, 395777).

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

Distribution: Port Denison, W. Aust., to Green Cape, N.S.W., and around Tasmania.

Taxonomic notes: Dictyomenia harveyana is a variable species in width of the axes and main branches, depending on degree of water movement and depth; broader, more robust plants occur on rough-water coasts and slender ones in calmer waters (A44486 has broad axes and A44167 narrow axes, both from N Spencer Gulf, S. Aust.). It is mostly a deep-water species, though in shallow water on Tasmanian coasts.

This species is characterised by the reproductive organs occurring on the marginal determinate laterals (not on surface clusters as in D. tridens and D. sonderi) and the branches are derived from a single apex, not from congenitally fused ones as in D. sonderi.

D. spinulosa Kützing (1864, p. 34, pl. 97c-e), type from Tasmania ("VDL") in Herb. Kützing, L, 940, 347...122, appears to be a profusely cystocarpic specimen of D. harveyana.

D. interstincta appears to be based on a specimen with normal vegetative lower parts and slender, much divided, fertile upper branches. The type is a Harvey, Alg. Aust. Exsicc. 12a specimen from Fremantle, W. Aust., placed by Harvey as D. tridens. This variation is shown in other plants of D. harveyana (e.g. AD, A48964) which have reproductive organs developed in the marginal determinate branchlets.


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

AGARDH, J.G. (1885). Till algernes systematik. VII. Florideae. Acta Univ. lund. 21, 1–120, Plate 1.

AGARDH, J.G. (1897). Analecta Algologica. Cont. IV. Acta Univ. lund. 33, 1–106, Plates 1, 2.

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

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. (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.)

KÜTZING, F.T. (1864). Tabulae Phycologicae. Vol. 14. (Nordhausen.)

LEVRING, T. (1946). A list of marine algae from Australia and Tasmania. Acta Horti gothoburg 16, 215–227.

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.

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

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. (1897). Die Algen der Lacepede und Guichen Bay und deren náherer Umgebung (Slid Australien), gesammelt von Dr. A. Engelhart-Kingston. Nuova Notarisia 8, 41–62.

SHEPHERD, S.A. & WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1981). The algal and seagrass ecology of Waterloo Bay, South Australia. Aquat. Bot. 11, 305–371.

SHEPHERD, S.A. (1983). Benthic communities of upper Spencer Gulf, South Australia. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 107, 69–85.

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

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

SONDER, O.W. (1855). Algae annis 1852 et 1853 collectae. Linnaea 26, 506–528.

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.

WILSON, J.B. (1892). Catalogue of algae collected at or near Port Phillip Heads and Western Port. Proc. R. Soc. Viet. 4, 157–190.

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

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1966). Port Phillip survey, 1957–1963: Algae. Mem. natl. Mus., Vict. No. 27, 133–156.

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: PLATE 2 fig. 1; FIG. 152.

Plate 2 image

Plate 2   enlarge

PLATE 2 fig. 1. Dictyomenia harveyana at Cloudy Lagoon, Tas. (AD, A64236)Photograph - G. Edgar.
fig. 2. Epiglossum proliferum at Back Beach, Little Dip Conservation Park, S.A. (AD, A68543). Photograph - H.B.S. Womersley.

Figure 152 image

Figure 152   enlarge

Fig. 152. Dictyomenia harveyana (A, AD, 9258; B, E, AD, A44302; C, AD, A20834; D, AD, A32947; E, AD, A57312). A. Habit. B. Apex of indeterminate axis with determinate laterals (dark spots are protozoans). C. Flat propagules. D. Cystocarps. E. Spermatangial organs. F. Branch with tetrasporangia.

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