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Order Halymeniales

Family Halymeniaceae

Cryptonemia natalensis (J. Agardh) Chiang 1970:57-61 figs 27-29a, pl. 7

Plants bright red, foliose, slippery, up to 50 (-60) cm tall, stipitate, with one to several primary blades arising from a small discoid holdfast; stipe to several cm long, compressed basally, expanding gradually into a flat blade; primary blade usually linear-lanceolate, up to 4 cm wide, becoming sparsely irregularly or dichotomously branched with an indistinct basal midrib that disappears upward; linear-lanceolate proliferations arising from margins and distal edges of primary and later orders of blades; these proliferations simple or in turn branched; blade margins smooth, lacerate, or irregularly indented, sometimes minutely dentate; surfaces of blades sometimes perforated, speckled or with small papillae. Internal structure of filamentous medulla and cellular cortex; medulla comprising 60-70% of thickness of thallus and consisting of simple or branched elongated cells joined into filaments disposed in all directions, some cells larger and highly refractive; cortex of 5-7 layers of cells decreasing in size towards the thallus surface. Reproductive structures distributed throughout the blade and branches; cystocarps immersed, with well-developed pericarp; tetrasporangia immersed, arising from cells of third (rarely fourth) layer of cortex; spermatangia unknown.

Collections, ecology and regional distribution

Recorded from Kenton-on-Sea to Durban (38-51). A subtidal species, found to at least 37 m depth in Kwazulu-Natal (De Clerck et al. 2005).

World distribution: Endemic to South Africa.

Type locality: Port Natal (Durban) (De Clerck et al. 2005).

Note: The type description (Chiang 1970) gives details of the reproductive structure of this species.


Cryptonemia natalensis, Port Alfred specimen (BOL).


References Cryptonemia natalensis

Chiang, Y-M, 1970. Morphological studies of red algae of the family Cryptonemiaceae. University of California Publications in Botany 58: 83 pp + 10 pls.

De Clerck, O., J.J.Bolton, R. J. Anderson and E. Coppejans, 2005. Guide to the Seaweeds of Kwazulu-Natal. National Botanic Garden of Belgium, Brussels (Scripta Botanica Belgica), 294 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.