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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Laurencia clavata Sonder 1853: 694.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Family Rhodomelaceae – Tribe Laurencieae

Selected citations: Falkenberg 1901: 251. Huisman & Walker 1990: 436. Nam & Choi 2001: 286, figs 1–20. Saenger 1974: 81. Saito & Womersley 1974: 825, figs 2A, B, 9. Shepherd & Womersley 1970: 135. Silva et al. 1996: 505.


Womersley 1950: 187; 1966: 155. Yamada 1931: 228.

Chondria clavata (Sonder) Harvey 1862a: pl. 189; 1863, synop.: xviii.

Chondria clavata 13 dendroides Harvey 1863, synop.: xviii.

Chondria corynephora Harvey 1855a: 539. J. Agardh 1863: 812. Tisdall 1898: 512.

Corynecladia clavata (Sonder) J. Agardh 1876: 643. De Toni 1903: 810. Lucas 1909: 39. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 250. Sonder 1880: 29. Tate 1882a: 21.

Corallopsis australasica Sonder 1853: 687; 1855: 522. Kützing 1869: 10, pl. 28.

Corynecladia umbellata J. Agardh 1876: 643, nom. illegit. De Toni 1903: 810. De Toni & Forti 1923: 37. Guiler 1952: 105. Lucas 1909: 39; 1929b: 50. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 250. May 1965: 391. Reinbold 1897: 55. Tisdall 1898: 511. Wilson 1892: 169.

Corynecladia australasica (Sonder) Sonder 1880: 29. Tate 1882a: 21. Tisdall 1898: 511.

Thallus (Fig. 206A) medium to dark red, 3–15 cm high, with a main axis irregularly radially branched, young branches soft and older branches drying cartilaginous, upper branches of elongate-clavate segments (1–) 1.5–2 mm in diameter and 1–1.5 (–3) cm long, di-to polychotomous for 3–4 orders, segments basally with a narrow pedicel; older thalli (Fig. 206A) with terete axes 2–3 mm in diameter, often denuded below or with subverticillate clusters (Fig. 206B) of branches. Holdfast discoid, 2–6 mm across, bearing 1 to several axes; epilithic. Structure. Epidermal cells (Fig. 205D) rounded to polygonal near apices, 20–50 µm across, scarcely elongating in older branches, with longitudinal secondary pit-connections; in transverse section epidermal cells isodiametric, intercellular spaces present between cortical cells, lenticular thickenings absent; corps en cerise present in epidermal 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 bearing clavate carposporangia 30–60 µm in diameter. Cystocarps (Fig. 206C) sessile, broad-based and not constricted, conical to hemispherical, (0.5–) 0.7–1.5 mm in basal diameter; pericarp ostiolate, 6–8 cells thick. Spermatangial thalli with short, clavate to pyriform, receptacles 1–2 mm across, spermatangia borne on trichoblasts.

Tetrasporangia (Fig. 206D) borne in simple clavate branchlets, in parallel arrangement, cut off abaxially from outer cells, 80–110 µm in diameter.

Type from LeFevre Pen., S. Aust. (Mueller); lectotype in MEL, 1006926, isolectotypes 1006927, 1006928.

Selected specimens: Port Denison, W. Aust., drift (Kraft, 14.xii.1971; AD, A42015). Safety Bay, W. Aust., drift (Womersley, 23.viii.1947; AD, A5819). Nuyts Reef, S. Aust., 28–30 m deep (Shepherd, 26.iii.1980; AD, A52325). Port Turton, S. Aust., on piles & rock, 3–5 m deep (Kraft, 17.ix.1973; AD, A44015). Port Noarlunga, S. Aust., 6 m deep (Kraft, 15.iii.1973; AD, A43046). Shell Rock, West I., S. Aust., 6–8 m deep (Shepherd, 28.xii.1965; AD, A30426). Port Elliot, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 10.viii.1957; AD, A21124). South West R., Kangaroo I., S. Aust., 6 m deep (Mitchell, 24.viii.1963; AD, A26834). Little Rocky Pt, Eastern Cove, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., 2–4 m deep (Womersley, 22.viii.1963; AD, A26910). American R. inlet, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., 2–3 m deep near Muston (Kraft, 17.vii.1972; AD, A42453). Margaret Brock Reef, Cape Jaffa, S. Aust., 3–5 m deep (R. Lewis, 29.xi.1972; AD, A42899). Robe, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 15.iv.1959; AD, A23032). Cape Lannes, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 14.v.1972; AD, A42231). Stinky Bay, Nora Creina, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 19.viii.I 957; AD, A21287). Lawrence Rock, Portland, Vic., 8–11 m deep (Larkum, 2.ix.1971; AD, A39635). Walkerville, Vic., drift (Sinkora A1828, 5.xii.1973; AD, A53525). Sarah I., Bathurst Ch., SW Tas., 2–5 m deep (Edgar, 11.iii.1995; AD, A64247). Safety Cove, Port Arthur, Tas., 10 m deep (AIMS-NCI; Q66C-3832–1, 1.iii.1990; AD, A60377).

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

Distribution: Port Denison, W. Aust., to Walkerville, Vic. and around Tasmania. Doubtfully elsewhere (see references in Silva et al. 1996, p. 505).

Taxonomic notes: Laurencia clavata certainly needs detailed study as to its placement in Laurencia, especially as to the origin of tetrasporangia (which appear to be pit-connected to outer cortical cells). It is a distinctive species morphologically with the narrow pedicels to the relatively broad branchlets and the broadly conical cystocarps which taper from the broad base upwards.


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

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

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.

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. (1855a). Some account of the marine botany of the colony of Western Australia. Trans. R. Jr. Acad. 22, 525–566.

HARVEY, W.H. (1862a). Phycologia Australica. Vol. 4, Plates 181–240. (Reeve: London.)

HARVEY, W.H. (1863). Phycologia Australica. Vol. 5, Plates 241–300, synop., pp. i-lxxiii. (Reeve: London.)

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.

KÜTZING, F.T. (1869). Tabulae Phycologicae. Vol. 19. (Nordhausen.)

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. (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.

NAM, K.W. & CHOI, H.G. (2001). Morphology of Laurencia clavata and L. data (Ceramiales, Rhodophyta) in relation to generic circumscription in the Laurencia complex. Eur. J. Phycol. 36, 285–294.

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.

SAENGER, P. (1974). Natural History of the Hogan Group 2. Some marine algae from Hogan Island, Bass Strait, with an account of the marine zonation. Pap. Proc. R. Soc. Tasmania 107, 73–81.

SAITO, Y. & WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1974). The southern Australian species of Laurencia (Ceramiales: Rhodophyta). Aust. J. Bot. 22, 815–874.

SHEPHERD, S.A. & WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1970). The sublittoral ecology of West Island, South Australia: 1. Environmental features and algal ecology. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 94, 105–137, Plate 1.

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.

YAMADA, Y. (1931). Notes on Laurencia, with special reference to the Japanese species. Univ. Calif Pubis Bot. 16, 185–311.

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 205D, 206.

Figure 205 image

Figure 205   enlarge

Fig. 205. A. Laurencia majuscula (AD, A41231). Transverse section. B. Laurencia aldingensis (AD, A44448). Longitudinal section. C. Laurencia forsteri (AD, A41855). Transverse section with lenticular thickenings. D. Laurencia clavata (AD, A42231). Longitudinal section. E. Laurencia shepherdii (AD, A42795). Longitudinal section. F. Laurencia arbuscula (AD, A42244). Transverse section. (All as in Saito & Womersley 1974, courtesy of Aust. J. Bot.)

Figure 206 image

Figure 206   enlarge

Fig. 206. Laurencia clavata (A, AD, A23032; B, AD, A42231; C, D, AD, A42453). A. Habit of an older plant. B. Clustered laterals on an older plant. C. Section of a cystocarp. D. Branch with tetrasporangia. (A, B as in Saito & Womersley 1974, courtesy of Aust. J. Bot.)

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