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Sphacelaria Lyngbye in Hornemann

Thalli forming tufts or mats, attached by basal discs or rhizoids. Branches cylindrical, erect branches branched sparsely to profusely, without cortication in upper parts, with or without phaeophycean hairs. Growth apical; main axes with a large apical cell, laterals often with small conical apical cell. Reproduction by plurilocular and unilocular sporangia; most species also producing vegetative propagules (special vegetative branchlets, usually with characteristic shapes). Common in intertidal turfs on the south coast. At present 39 species are recognized worldwide, of which 3 have been recorded on the south coast (Guiry & Guiry 2012); two of these also occur on the west coast (Stegenga et al. 1997).

Key to species

1a. All axes about 25 µm diameter, propagules with long pedicel and two long arms at wide angle

S. rigidula

1b. Main axes more than 35 µm wide below, propagules on short pedicels and ellipsoid/fusiform


2a. Main axes ca. 65 µm diameter below (narrower above), ca. 5 cells visible per segment, propagules ellipsoid/fusiform with rounded tips

S. brachygona

2b. Main axes ca. 50 µm diameter or narrower below, propagules almost triangular in cross section with rather pointed tips

S. tribuloides

References Sphacelaria

Guiry, M.D. & Guiry, G.M. 2012. AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway.; searched January 2012.

Stegenga, H., Bolton, J.J. and R. J. Anderson. 1997. Seaweeds of the South African west coast. Contributions from the Bolus Herbarium 18: 655 pp.


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 02 March 2024.