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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Nitophyllum crispum (Kützing) J. Agardh 1852: 662; 1872: 48; 1876: 448; 1898: 39.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Family Delesseriaceae

Selected citations: De Toni 1900: 629. Guiler 1952: 102. Harvey 1859b: 312; 1863, synop: xxxii. Kylin 1924: 75. Levring 1946: 225. Lucas 1909: 35; 1926: 596, pl. 37 fig. 3, pl. 38 fig. 1; 1929a: 19. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 218, fig. 83. May 1965: 402. Shepherd & Womersley 1981: 366. Sonder 1853: 690; 1880: 23. Tisdall 1898: 509. Wilson 1892: 174.


Nitophyllum crispum var. prolificans Zanardini 1874: 498.

Aglaophyllum crispum Kützing 1849: 868; 1866: 14, pl. 39.

Nitophyllum punctatum sensu Harvey 1844b: 446; 1849a: 119; 1849b: 153. Hooker & Harvey 1847: 403.

Nitophyllum stipitatum Harvey 1859b: 312; 1863, synop.: xxxi. J. Agardh 1876: 472. Sonder 1880: 23. [NON N. stipitatum Suhr 1841: 281, pl. 2 fig. 4 from Tangier.]

Scutarius stipitatus (Harvey) Kuntze 1891: 920.

Platyclinia crozieri J. Agardh 1898: 107; 1899: pl. 3 figs 7, 8. Kylin 1924: 64, fig. 50. Lucas 1909: 36. May 1965: 402. [NON Nitophyllum crozieri Hooker & Harvey 1845a: 254 from Cape Horn].

Platyclinia agardhii Papenfuss 1967: 102.

Thallus (Fig. 55A) medium red to yellow-red or red-brown, 10–25 (–50) cm high and 10–30 cm across, membranous, foliose and usually much branched with marginal lobes for 2–3 orders, complanate but the lobes often convolute or ruffled, lesser lobes 5–15 mm across, apices rounded; veins absent. Stipe 2–15 mm long, slender. Holdfast small, discoid becoming fibrous; epiphytic on seagrasses (Posidonia and Amphibolis) or larger algae. Structure. Growth marginal and intercalary (Fig. 55B), without or with occasional (Fig. 55C) apical cells, primary cells becoming irregularly placed or more-or-less in rows, angular, isodiametric to slightly elongate, 20–30 µm across, blades mostly monostromatic, 35–50 µm thick, becoming polystromatic below, cortical cells equivalent; margin of blades smooth or with slight dentations. Cells multinucleate; rhodoplasts discoid, becoming chained.

Reproduction: Gametophytes dioecious. Procarps (Figs 54D, 55D) scattered, on opposite sides of the thallus from one primary cell which cuts off a cover cell which divides into 2 (–3) and a supporting cell which produces a 4-celled carpogonial branch and a 2–3-celled sterile group, with the carpogonial branch lying between the cover cells and the sterile group (Fig. 55D). Carposporophyte with a small basal fusion cell and much branched gonimoblast with clavate to pyriform terminal carposporangia 30–45 µm in diameter. Cystocarps (Fig. 55E) 1–1.5 mm across, slightly swollen with a slight collar; pericarp ostiolate, 3–5 cells thick, cells in regular tiers. Spermatangial sori (Fig. 55F, G) scattered, elongate, 0.4–1 mm across, with the primary cells producing a layer of cortical initials which cut off elongate spermatangia, often in blocks corresponding to the primary cells.

Tetrasporangial sori (Fig. 55H) scattered, ovate, 0.2–1 mm across, with tetrasporangia cut off from the primary cells and lying in gaps between these cells, more-or-less in one layer; tetrasporangia subspherical, 45–90 µm in diameter.

Type from Georgetown, Tas. (Gunn 1269); holotype in Herb. Kützing, L, 941, 181...288.

Selected specimens: The Rip, Port Phillip Heads, Vic., on Cephalocystis furcellatus, 16–23 m deep (Kraft 10710a et al., 10.v.1995; MELU and AD, A68019, 68270). Point Hicks, E Vic., on Carpomitra, 18–21 m deep (Kraft & Watt, 8.ii.2001; MELU). Hebe Reef, off Georgetown, Tas., 6 m deep (Edgar, 22.x.1995; AD, A64796). Low Head, Tas. (Perrin 1199 & Lucas, Jan. 1931; AD, A49603; Perrin 1204, 8.x.1950; AD, A49606; and Perrin 1205, Nov. 1950; AD, A49607). Pilot Station, Low Head, Tas., drift (Womersley, 23.x.1986; AD, A57770). Taroona, Tas., uppermost sublittoral (Sanderson, 24.xi.1991; AD, A61527). Great Taylor Bay, Bruny I., Tas., on the gastropod Maoricolpus, 10–16 m deep (Shepherd, 7.ii.1970; AD, A35151).

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

Distribution: N and E coasts of Tasmania, probably also from Port Elliot, S. Aust., and Seaholme to Point Hicks, Victoria.

Taxonomic notes: Probable specimens: Port Elliot, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 10.viii.1957; AD, A21113). Seaholme, Vic., drift (Hansen, Oct. 1955; AD, A20464).

Nitophyllum crispum is mainly a Tasmanian species, with many fine past collections from Low Head, Tas., by Mrs F. Perrin. The Port Elliot and Seaholme specimens are small but probably referable to this species.

Nitophyllum crispum was first referred by Harvey to the European N. punctatum with which it is closely related, differing in being a larger and much more branched species, with smaller tetrasporangial sori (0.5–1 mm across compared to 0.3–3.5 mm long and 0.2–1 mm broad in N. punctatum - Maggs & Hommersand 1993, p. 259).

Var. prolificans Zanardini (1874, p. 498), also from Georgetown, Tas. (type in Herb. Zanardini, Venice), is a typical plant of N. crispum and not worth recognising.

Millar (1990, p. 422) suggested N. crispum may belong to Haraldiophyllum, but the procarps are typical of Nitophyllum.

Both the misapplied names N. stipitatum Harvey (1859b, p. 312), based on a Gunn specimen from East coast, Tas., and Platyclinia crozieri J. Agardh (1898, p. 107), based on a Wilson specimen from Port Phillip Heads, Vic. and renamed Platyclinia agardhii by Papenfuss (1967, p. 102), appear to belong to the variable N. crispum.


AGARDH, J.G. (1852). Species Genera et Ordines Algarum. Vol. 2, Part 2, pp. 337–720. (Gleerup: Lund.)

AGARDH, J.G. (1872). Bidrag till Florideernes Systematik. Acta Univ. Lund 8, 1–60.

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. (1898). Species Genera et Ordines Algarum. Vol. 3, Part 3 - De dispositione Delesseriearum. (Gleerup: Lund.)

AGARDH, J.G. (1899). Analecta Algologica. Cont. V. Acta Univ. lund. 35, 1–160, Plates 1–3.

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

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. (1849a). Nereis Australis, pp. 65–124, Plates 26–50. (Reeve: London.)

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KYLIN, H. (1924). Studien über die Delesseriaceen. Lunds Univ. Årsskr. N.F. Avd. 2, 20(6), 1–111.

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

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LUCAS, A.H.S. (1926). Notes on Australian marine algae. III. The Australian species of the genus Nitophyllum. Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 51, 594–607, Plates 37–45.

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MAGGS, C.A. & HOMMERSAND, M.H. (1993). Seaweeds of the British Isles. Vol. 1. Rhodophyta. Part 3A, Ceramiales. (HMSO: London.)

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.

MILLAR, A.J.K. (1990). Marine Red Algae of the Coffs Harbour Region, northern New South Wales. Aust. Syst. Bot. 3, 293–593.

PAPENFUSS, G.F. (1967). Notes on algal nomenclature. V. Various Chlorophyceae and Rhodophyceae. Phykos 5, 95–105.

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

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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.

ZANARDINI, J. (1874). Phyceae Australicae novae vel minus cognitae. Flora 57, 486–490, 497–505.

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

Author: H. B. S. Womersley

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: FIGS MD, 55.

Figure 55 image

Figure 55   enlarge

Fig. 55. Nitophyllum crispum (A–D, F–H, AD, 64796; E, AD, A61527). A. Habit. B. Marginal apex. C. Marginal apex with an apical cell. D. Procarp with 3 sterile cells (above), a carpogonial branch, and 2 cover cells (below). E. Section of cystocarp. F. Spermatangial sori. G. Detail of a spermatangial sorus. H. Tetrasporangial sori.

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