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Order Fucales

Family Sargassaceae

Sargassum cymosum var scabriusculum Grunow 1916: 142 ('scabriuscula')

Plants dark brown to yellowish-brown, up to 20-30 cm high, attached to the substrate by a small conical holdfast to 1.5 cm wide that bears one to several terete perennial main axes up to 1.5 cm long and 0.5 cm in diameter. Main axes giving rise to several primary axes, terete spiny to muricate. Secondary axes shorter with fewer spines, alternately and spirally attached, bearing leaves, vesicles and receptacles. Leaves simple to bi- or trifid, linear to oblong, sometimes spathulate, 0.5 to 1.6 cm long and 0.1 to 0.25 cm broad, crypstostomata inconspicuous, midrib percurrent and slightly raised, pedicel short, basis asymmetrical and cuneate, margins smooth to serrulate, apex rounded to acute. Vesicles spherical to oblong and smooth, up to 3 mm in diameter, pedicel terete to flattened, seldom leaf-like, longer than the vesicle. Receptacles compound, terete, surface warty, attached in open clusters, often mixed with small leaves and vesicles.

Collections, ecology and regional distribution

Found from Kalk Bay in False Bay and eastwards along the entire coast up to at least Cape Vidal (17-56). A subtidal species that can be abundant in rock pools, especially in the upper intertidal.

World distribution: also recorded from the tropical and sub-tropical Atlantic (references in Guiry & Guiry 2016).

Syntype localities: near Rio de Janiero, Brazil; South Africa: Cape of Good Hope; Algoa Bay' "Caffraria" (Silva et al. 1996: 668).

Note: see Mattio et al. (2015) for further information on this and other species that occur in South Africa. These authors note that the molecular difference between this S. cymosum var scabriusculum and S. elegans is not great, but they separate them on mainly morphological grounds.


Sargassum sp. A- habit. B – leaves. C –– vesicles. D – receptacles. E – spiny/muricate axes.


References Sargassum cymosum var scabriusculum

Grunow, A. (1916). Additamenta ad cognitionem Sargassorum. Verhandlungen der Kaiserlich-Königlichen Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien 66: 1-48, 136-185.

Guiry, M.D. & Guiry, G.M. 2016. AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway.; searched on 05 April 2016.

Mattio L, Anderson RJ, Bolton JJ. 2015. A revision of the genus Sargassum (Fucales, Phaeophyceae) in South Africa. South African Journal of Botany 98: 95-107.

Silva, P.C., Basson, P.W. & Moe, R.L. (1996). Catalogue of the benthic marine algae of the Indian Ocean. University of California Publications in Botany 79: 1-1259.


Cite this record as:

Anderson RJ, Stegenga H, Bolton JJ. 2016. Seaweeds of the South African South Coast.
World Wide Web electronic publication, University of Cape Town,; Accessed on 24 May 2024.