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Order Nemaliales

Family Helminthocladiaceae

Helminthora furcellata (Reinbold in Tyson) Martin 1947: 371

Plants bushy, blackish, slippery, a few to 10 cm tall, with a single holdfast. Axes cylindrical, several times dichotomously branched, tapering in diameter from about 3mm basally to 1 mm at apices. Structure multiaxial, with a loose filamentous core surrounded by a cortex of radiating (assimilatory) filaments of progressively shorter cells. Cortical filaments dichotomizing at almost every cell; terminal cells club-shaped, 20-30 µm long and 10 µm in diameter. Cells with a single stellate chloroplast and a central pyrenoid.

Plants dioecious. Spermatangia in loose terminal clusters on the assimilatory filaments. Four-celled carpogonial filament with dumb-bell shaped carpogonium developing on swollen intercalary cells of the cortical filaments. Carposporophytes globose, immersed in subcortical layer, surrounded by involucre of sterile filaments. Tetrasporangia and life history unknown.

Collections, ecology and regional distribution

Found from Three Anchor Bay (Cape Peninsula) to Woody Cape (Addo), in intertidal pools, sublittroal fringe and shallow sublittoral zone. According to Stegenga et al (1997) this species is most prevalent in spring and early summer.

World distribution: South African endemic.

Type locality: Table Bay (Silva et al. 1996).

Note: Details of reproductive structures are provided by Martin (1947).


Helminthora furcellata (BOL), with some small Ceramium epiphytes.

Helminthora furcellata (BOL), closer view of terminal branches.

Helminthora furcellata. 1. Habit. 2. Cortical filaments. 3-9. Carpogobial filament and early developmental stages of carposporophyte. Reproduced from Stegenga et al. (1997).


References Helminthora furcellata

Martin, MT 1947. Some South African Rhodophyceae. Helminthora furcellata (Reinbold apud Tyson) comb.nov. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 31: 371-379.

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. 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 19 April 2024.