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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Vidalia spiralis (Lamouroux) Lamouroux ex J. Agardh 1863: 1126; 1879: 198, pl. 33 figs 26–29.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Family Rhodomelaceae – Tribe Amansieae

Selected citations: De Toni 1903: 1106. De Toni & Forti 1923: 47. Falkenberg 1901: 428. Harvey 1863, synop.: xvi. Huisman & Walker 1990: 440. Huisman et al. 1990: 98. Kendrick et al. 1988: 204; 1990: 48, 52. Kylin 1956: 545. Lucas 1909: 46; 1929b: 51. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 298. May 1965: 398. Reinbold 1899: 48. Shepherd & Womersley 1981: 368. Sonder 1880: 32. Tate 1882a: 22. Womersley 1950: 190.


Delesseria spiralis Lamouroux 1813: 124, pl. 9 fig. 2.

Epineuron spirale (Lamouroux) Harvey 1847: 25, pl. 9. Kützing 1849: 848; 1864: 35, pl. 100a-c.

Dictyomenia spiralis (Lamouroux) Sonder 1848: 182. Harvey 1855a: 538.

Osmundaria spiralis (Lamouroux) Norris 1991: 17, figs 22, 26–31. Huisman 1993: 13; 1997: 207; 2000: 176. Silva et al. 1996: 533.

Euspiros spiralis (Lamouroux) Kuntze 1891: 894.

Rhodomela tridens var. spiralis (Lamouroux) C. Agardh 1822: 374; 1824: 197.

Rhodomela serrulata C. Agardh 1824: 197 (in part)

Epineuron backhousii Harvey in Hooker & Harvey 1845b: 532 (nomen). Kützing 1849: 849.

Thallus (Fig. 173A) dark red-brown, 10–30 cm high, erect and much branched irregularly for 3–5 orders with ultimate branches 1–8 cm long, flat, 2–3 mm broad, with regularly spaced (1–2 mm apart) marginal serrations (Fig. 173B) 0.5–1 mm long, branches sparsely to frequently spirally twisted, apices dorsally revolute. Axes with a prominent midrib, denuded basally and 2–3 mm broad, 1–2 mm thick, serrations with a faint central vein. Lateral branches arising by continued growth of marginal serrations. Holdfast conical, becoming fibrous, 0.5–1 (–4) cm across; epilithic, Structure. Apices revolute (Fig. 173B), broad; axes with 5 pericentral cells, 2 lateral ones on each side and a ventral pericentral cell, with the dorsal lateral cells each cutting off a pseudopericentral cell (Fig. 173C); a ventral pseudopericentral cell sometimes also formed. The lateral pericentral cells form the wings of the branches, 300–500 µm thick, with a medulla of 2 larger cells and a cortex (1–) 2–3 cells thick, the midrib becoming thickened by proliferation from adjacent cortical cells. Marginal serrations occur 2–3 axial cells apart, have curved apices and are rapidly corticated. Trichoblasts occur subapically on marginal serrations and on short, dorsal, projections on the midrib, 0.5–1 mm long, basal cells 20–30 µm in diameter and L/D 1–1.5 with thick walls, upper cells 6–10 µm in diameter and L/D 6–10. Cells uni- or (larger) multinucleate; rhodoplasts discoid to elongate.

Reproduction: Reproductive organs produced mostly on the branch midrib. Gametophytes dioecious. Procarps not observed. Carposporophytes with a prominent basal fusion cell, much branched gonimoblast and clavate terminal carposporangia 30–50 µm in diameter. Cystocarps (Fig. 173D) short-stalked, globular, 1–2 mm in diameter; pericarp with a small ostiole, wall 6–10 cells and 200–300 µm thick, cells irregular in section. Spermatangial organs (Fig. 173E) clustered on branches of trichoblasts on marginal serrations or on the midrib, subspherical to ovoid, 80–130 µm in diameter.

Tetrasporangial stichidia (Fig. 173G) densely clustered on the midrib (Fig. 173F), sessile, compressed, elongate-ovoid to fusiform with curved apices, 180–220 µm broad and 0.4–1.5 mm long, with a narrow stalk, corticated, with 2 rows of tetrasporangia 50–90 µm in diameter.

Type from "Nouv. Holl."; not located in Herb. Lamouroux, CN.

Selected specimens: Port Denison, W. Aust., drift (Womersley, 31.viii.1947; AD, A5853). Cliff Head, W. Aust., 5–6 m deep (Kirkman & foil, 18.ix.1979; AD, A51185). Cowaramup Bay, W. Aust., 2–3 m deep (Clarke & Engler, 1.ix.1979; AD, A50669). Eucla, W. Aust., drift (Womersley, 2.ii.1954; AD, A19352). Smooth I., Isles of St Frances, S. Aust., 22 m deep (Shepherd, 29.iii.1980; AD, A52184). Elliston, S. Aust., 11 m deep in bay (Shepherd, 14.x.1971; AD, A38643). Sleaford Bay, S. Aust., shaded rear reef pools (Womersley, 16.ii.1959; AD, A22505). Between Hopkins & Thisle Is, S. Aust., 6–9 m deep (Shepherd & Baldock, 1.i.1964; AD, A27118). Victor Harbor, S. Aust., 6 m deep (Clarke, 22.iv.1978; AD, A59009). Goolwa, S. Aust, drift (Ricci, 19.v.1997; AD, A67078). Kingscote, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 12.i.1948; AD, A6960). Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., 7 m deep at jetty (Kraft, 19.i.1974; AD, A45057) and in shaded pool (Womersley, 15.i.1947; AD, A4259). Cape Jaffa, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 25.iv.2000; AD, A68503). Port Phillip Heads, Vic., drift (AD, A1410).

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

Distribution: Houtman Abrolhos, W. Aust., to Port Phillip Heads, Victoria.

Taxonomic notes: Vidalia spiralis is a common species in shallow but shaded situations to deep water on the western and southern coasts, characterised by the spirally twisted branches in mature plants, the reproductive organs borne mainly on the midrib, and the cross sectional arrangement of 5 pericentral cells with 2 pseudopericentral cells from the dorsal lateral pericentrals, sometimes with one also from the ventral pericentral cell. Sterile plants of Vidalia spiralis and Dictyomenia tridens can be superficially similar, but differ in lack of thallus spirality in the latter and arrangement and number of pericentral cells.


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AGARDH, J.G. (1879). Florideernes morphologi. K. Svenska Vetensk. Akad. Handl. 15(6), 1–199, Plates 1–33.

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.)

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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.

Illustration in Womersley Part IIIA, 2003: FIG. 173.

Figure 173 image

Figure 173   enlarge

Fig. 173. Vidalia spiralis (A, F, G, AD, A38643; B, AD, A6960; C, D, AD, A68503; E, AD, A45057). A. Habit. B. Branch with revolute apex, vein system and marginal serrations. C. Transverse section of thallus with axial and pericentral cells, with 2 dorsal pseudopericentral cells (arrows). D. Section of cystocarp. E. Trichoblasts with spermatangial organs. F. Branch with crowded stichidia on midrib. G. Cluster of stichidia.

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