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Order Gelidiales

Family Gelidiaceae

Gelidium crinale (Hare ex Turner) Gaillon 1828: 362

Plants dark red to red-brown, cartilaginous, to about 30 mm tall; terete prostrate axes attached by compact groups of rhizoids and bearing erect axes; erect axes terete to compressed in basal regions, becoming compressed to flattened distally, simple or sparsely branched; branching irregular, often more developed near apices of erect axes and appearing dichotomous rather than pinnate; upright axes usually 150-200 µm wide, broadening to up to 400 µm around branching points, branch apices tapering to blunt points. Cortex of 3-4 layers of small pigmented cells surrounding medulla of larger thick-walled cells; rhizines abundant on medulla and inner cortex. Reproductive structures not seen.

Collections, ecology and regional distribution

Recorded from False Bay (Western Cape) to Cape St Lucia, Kwazulu-Natal (17-55), from the lower eulittoral into the shallow sublittoral zones, usually forming a short turf (Tronchin 2003).

World distribution: Widespread in temperate and tropical seas (Millar & Freshwater 2005).

Type locality: Devon, England (Silva et al. 1996).

Note: this species is reported to differ markedly in morphology, depending on the environments in which it occurs (e.g. Millar & Freshwater 2005) and to grow up to 6 cm tall. A number of unidentified specimens of Gelidium in South African herbaria (usually noted to form turfs in the intertidal zone, and with smaller dimensions than those above) may be variants of this species.


Gelidium crinale, Cape Morgan (BOL).

Gelidium crinale (scale values in cm).

Gelidium crinale, turf-like specimen from NSW, Australia (re-drawn from Millar & Freshwater 2005).


References Gelidium crinale

Gaillon, B. 1828. Résumé méthodique des classifications des Thalassiophytes. Dictionnaire des Sciences Naturelles [Levrault] 53: 350-406, Tables 1-3.

Millar AJK and DW Freshwater 2005. morphology and molecular phylogeny of the marine algal order Gelidiales (Rhodophyta) from New South Wales, including Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands. Australian Systematic Botany 18: 215-263.

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.

Tronchin, E.M. 2003. The systematics, biology and distribution of the Gelidiaceae (Rhodophyta) of South Africa and related taxa. Ph D thesis, Department of Botany, University of Cape Town, 214 + xv 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.