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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Epiglossum smithiae (Hooker & Harvey) Kützing 1849: 878; 1866: 4, pl. 8a, b.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Family Rhodomelaceae – Tribe Amansieae

Selected citations: Phillips 2002b: 221, figs 8, 10.


Polyphacum smithiae Hooker & Harvey in Harvey 1847: 17, pl. 3; 1859b: 295; 1863, synop.: xvi. J. Agardh 1863: 1132. Hooker & Harvey 1847: 398. Sonder 1880: 32. Tisdall 1898: 513. Wilson 1892: 166.

Osmundaria smithiae (Hooker & Harvey) Kuntze 1891: 909.

Lenormandia smithiae (Hooker & Harvey) Falkenberg 1901: 464, pl. 8 figs 18–21. De Toni 1903: 1120. Garnet 1971: 95. Guiler 1952: 106. Lucas 1909: 46; 1929a: 23. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 303, fig. 143. May 1965: 397. Womersley 1950: 189; 1966: 154.

Polyphacum intermedium J. Agardh 1892: 175.

Thallus (Fig. 174A) dark red-brown, 10–20 (–27) cm high, cartilaginous, often with surface sponge, moderately to much branched for 3–5 orders from the midrib, branches linear, 3–5 (–9) mm broad and (1–) 2–10 cm long, lower axis denuded, 2–4 mm thick, apices rounded, basally constricted to a short stipe; midrib inconspicuous, margins slightly thickened, branch surfaces (Fig. 174B) densely covered (apart from a discrete marginal border) with short, flat, adventitious, determinate, proliferations (Fig. 174C). Holdfast discoid, 1–4 (–15) mm across; epilithic. Structure. Apices obcordate, margins slightly recurved adaxially (Fig. 174D); apical cell within a slight cleft but recurved, thick walled and 25–30 µm in diameter, axial cells cutting off 5 pericentral cells, with 2–4 pseudopericentral cells somewhat irregular in position; medulla irregular, 2–3 cells thick, cortex 1–2 cells thick, with secondary cortication over the midrib (Fig. 174E). Surface proliferations (Fig. 174C) directed forwards, flat, ovate to obcordate, 0.3–1 mm long, surfaces with short excrescences. Trichoblasts unknown apart from association with reproduction. Cells uni-nucleate; rhodoplasts discoid.

Reproduction: Reproductive organs borne on erect branch systems with a simple stalk, 1–2 mm high, borne on the branch surface (mainly near the margins) among the proliferations. Gametophytes dioecious. Procarps borne on upper branches of the systems, usually several in a series, rapidly polysiphonous and pericarpic. Carposporophytes with a basal fusion cell and much-branched gonimoblast with clavate terminal carposporangia 40–70 in diameter. Cystocarps (Fig. 174F) stalked, ovoid, 1–1.6 mm in diameter; pericarp ostiolate, heavily corticated, 7–10 cells thick. Spermatangial organs (Fig. 174G) on much-branched heads of the stalks, ovoid, 80–110 µm in diameter, with a single basal sterile cell but no sterile apical cells.

Stichidia (4–10) terminating the stalk, curved, compressed, 0.5–1.2 (–2) mm long and 180–300 µm broad, corticated, with opposite pairs of tetrasporangia (Fig. 174H) 100–160 µm in diameter.

Type from Circular Head, N Tasmania (Smith & Gunn); holotype in TCD.

Selected specimens: Memory Cove, S. Aust., 40 m deep (Shepherd, 2.i.1964; AD, A27150). Between Hopkins & Thistle Is, S. Aust., 6–9 m deep (Shepherd, 1.i.1964; AD, A27116). Toad Head, West I., S. Aust., 20–30 m deep (Owen, 2.vii.1971; AD, A39232). Port Elliot, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 12.iv.1958; AD, A21370). Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 2.i.1949; AD, A10617). Penington Bay, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 31.xii.1949; AD, A12846). Cable Hut reef, Penneshaw, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., 7–20 m deep (Lavers, 18.x.1999; AD, A68893). Hog Bay reef, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., 6–11 m deep (Lavers, 9.vi.1996; AD, A65925). Kingston, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 19.viii.1966; AD, A30661). Robe, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 2.iv.1999; AD, A68103). Dutton Bay, Portland, Vic., drift (Womersley, 13.iv.1959; AD, A22673). Queenscliff, Vic., drift (Phillips, 15.viii.1998; MELU 58/59). Port Phillip Heads, Vic., 16–18 m deep N of Quarantine Station (Kraft et al., 5.iv.1995, MELU, K10638). Walkerville, Vic., drift (Sinkora, 11.iii.1978; AD, A60880). Gabo I., Vic., 28 m deep (Shepherd, 14.ii.1973; AD, A43351). W of Green Cape Lighthouse, N.S.W., 28 m deep (Miller, Richards & Yee, 24.ii.2000; NSW, 439064). Bicheno, Tas., 8–12 m deep (Edgar, 23.x.1994; AD, A63817).

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

Distribution: Memory Cove, S. Aust., to Green Cape, N.S.W., and around Tasmania.

Taxonomic notes: Epiglossum smithiae is a deep-water alga often common in the drift around south eastern Australia, readily recognised by its habit with the linear branches covered by short, flat, proliferations somewhat similar to the terete proliferations of Osmundaria prolifera.


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

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

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.)

GARNET, J.R. (1971). Checklist No. 6 – Marine and Freshwater Algae. In The Wildflowers of Wilson's Promontory National Park, pp. 93–97. (Lothian: Melbourne.)

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

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.)

HOOKER, J.D. & HARVEY, W.H. (1847). Algae Tasmanicae. Lond. J. Bot. 6, 397–417.

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

KÜTZING, F.T. (1866). Tabulae Phycologicae. Vol. 16. (Nordhausen.)

KUNTZE, O. (1891). Revisio generum Plantarum. Part II. 4. Algae, pp. 877–930. (Leipzig.)

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. Natl Herb. 3, 349–429.

PHILLIPS, L.E. (2002b). Taxonomy of Adamsiella L.E. Phillips et W.A. Nelson, gen. nov. and Epiglossum Kützing (Rhodomelaceae, Ceramiales). J. Phycol. 38, 209–229.

SONDER, O.W. (1880). 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. 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.

Author: H.B.S. Womersley & L.E. Phillips

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. 174.

Figure 174 image

Figure 174   enlarge

Fig. 174. Epiglossum smithiae (A, AD, A27116; B, C, MELU, 58/59; D, AD, A68103; E, H, AD, A65925; F, AD, A30661; G, AD, A21370). A. Habit. B. Blade with apical cleft and flat proliferations. C. Proliferations on blade. D. (B, C, by L.E. Phillips) Longitudinal section near apex. E. Transverse section through midrib, with proliferations. F. Section of cystocarp. G. Spermatangial organs. H. Stichidia with paired tetrasporangia.

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