Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

Order Ceramiales

Family Rhodomelaceae

Pachychaeta cryptoclada Falkenberg 1901: 577-579, pl. 13: fig. 16

Plants dark red to blackish, comprising prostrate axes and erect axes up to 50 mm tall. Prostrate axes attached by haptera cut off from pericentral cells. Segments cylindrical, about 0.9-1.0 times as long as broad, with 10-16 pericentral cells, uncorticated. Axes up to 250 µm in diameter, branching apparently irregular and sparse, but spirally-arranged branch initials formed on each segment and remaining visible in older parts as groups of small cells. Laterals arising exogenously; no vegetative trichoblasts present. Reproductive structures in stichidium-like structures formed by repeated re-branching of laterals. Tetrasporangia two per segment, arranged decussately; up to 120 µm in diameter, with two long and one short cover cells. Antheridial stands short cylindrical. Cystocarps globose, without ostiole (we have not seen sexual reproductive structures in our material).

Collections, ecology and regional distribution

Recorded from Swartklip (False Bay) to the Durban area (18-51). Found as a component of sand-binding turfs in the lower eulittoral.

World distribution: South African endemic.

Syntype localities: Cape Agulhas and near mouth of Kowie River, Port Alfred (Silva et al. 1996).


Pachychaeta cryptoclada, detail of cells.

Pachychaeta cryptoclada, tetrasporangia in stichidium-like structures.

Pachychaeta cryptoclada, habit.

Pachychaeta cryptoclada. 1. Habit of tetrasporangial plant. 2. Detail of main axis (note stunted laterals). 3. Cross section. 4. Tetrasporangia. Reproduced from Stegenga et al. (1997).


References Pachychaeta cryptoclada

Falkenberg, P. 1901. Die Rhodomelaceen des Golfes von Neapel und der angrenzenden Meeres-Abschnitte. Fauna und Flora des Golfes von Neapel, Monographie 26. pp. i-xvi, 1-754, 10 figs, 24 pls. Berlin.

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 26 February 2024.