Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

Order Rhodymeniales

Family Champiaceae

Champia compressa Harvey 1838: 402

Plants pale to bright red, usually with bright blue or green iridescence when fresh, creeping and branching to form clumps to a few cm tall (rarely as individual tufted plants growing to up to 10 cm tall); axes compressed segmented, pinnately to irregularly branched from margins, up to 3 mm wide and 0.5 mm thick; laterals may be alternate, sub-opposite or regularly bipinnate in arrangement, narrowing towards bases and apices. Thallus hollow with central cavity containing mucus, divided by septa at short intervals, axes slightly constricted at septa; thallus wall of single layer of almost isodiametric cells, 40-50 x 45-55 µm, interspersed with scattered much smaller cells at the outer surface; medulla with filaments (about 10 µm diameter) bearing spherical gland cells of about 15 µm diameter. Tetrasporangia excised from cells of thallus wall and projecting into central cavity, tetrahedrally divided, up to 100 µm diameter. Cystocarps sessile, about 2 x 1.6 mm when mature, conical to urn-shaped.

Collections, ecology and regional distribution

Recorded from the west coast near Cape Columbine, along the south coast and Kwazulu-Natal (11-58) and into East Africa. Common in turfs in pools and from eulittoral to at least 35 m depth.

World distribution: Indian Ocean shores and islands, Philippines, Korea, Australia and New Zealand (Guiry and Guiry 2009).

Type locality: Muizenberg, False Bay, South Africa (Silva et al. 1996).

Note: South coast specimens are often larger than those recorded on the west coast (Stegenga et al. 1997).


Champia compressa, Arniston, without iridescence.

Champia compressa, Kenton-on-Sea, with some iridescence.

Champia compressa, thallus detail.

Champia compressa, cross section showing outer layer.

Champia compressa. 1. Habit. 2. Thallus top, surface view. 3. Cross section. 4. Inside view of hollow thallus, showing septum (s) and tetrasporangia and gland cells (gl). Reproduced from Stegenga et al. (1997).


References Champia compressa

Guiry, M.D. & Guiry, G.M. 2009. AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway.; searched August 2009.

Harvey, W. H. 1838. The genera of South African plants. Cape Town, 429 pp.

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.

Stegenga, H., Bolton, J.J. & 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 19 April 2024.