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Order Gigartinales

Family Rhizophyllidaceae

Portieria tripinnata (Hering) De Clerck in De Clerck et al. 2005: 192, figs 165, 166.

Plants erect, orange-brown, forming dense tufts up to 5 cm high. Discoid or encrusting holdfast; fronds complanate, compressed to flattened, with recurved tips; branching pinnate, alternate to sub-opposite; axes 0.5-1.0 mm wide in mid-thallus, narrower at both ends; ultimate branches usually < 0.5 mm long, resembling small teeth. Growth pattern uniaxial; in cross-section axial cell ovoid, conspicuous; medulla of un-pigmented globose cells 22-100 µm diameter, decreasing in size towards periphery and grading rapidly into cortex of 2-3 layers of pigmented cells 5-12 µm long and 5- 10 µm wide. Reproductive structures developing in wart-like nemathecia on terminal branches; tetrasporangia zonately divided.

Collections, ecology and regional distribution

Found from Cape Padrone area (east of Algoa Bay) to Mission Rocks, northern KZN (38-51), mostly on rock in the mid-eulittoral or in rock-pools and gulleys.

World distribution: Reported from Mauritius (Boergesen 1943).

Type locality: “Natalpoint” (Durban) Kwazulu-Natal, SA. (Krauss 1846: 209).

Note: We follow Papenfuss (1940) and De Clerck et al. (2005) in regarding P. tripinnata as a species distinct from P. hornemannii, although Silva et al. (1996) regarded it as a synonym of P. hornemannii.


Portieria tripinnata, Hluleka (BOL).

Portieria tripinnata, intertidal rocks, Glen Muir, showing typical recumbent form.

Portieria tripinnata, Haga Haga, branch detail of fresh material.

Portieria tripinnata, Palm Beach, KZN, detail of branching pattern.


References Portieria tripinnata

Boergesen, F. 1943. Some marine algae from Mauritius. III. Rhodophyceae. Part 2. Gelidiales, Cryptonemiales, Gigartinales. Kongel. Danske Vidensk. Selsk. Biol. Meddel. 19: 1-85.

De Clerck, O, Tronchin, E. M., Schils, T. 2005. Red algae. In: 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), pp. 130-269.

Krauss, F. 1846. Pflanzen des Cap- unt Natal Landes, gesammelt und zusammengestellt van Dr. Ferdinand Krauss. (Schluss.) Flora 29: 209-219.

Papenfuss, G. F. 1940. Notes on South African marine algae. I. Botaniska Notiser 1940: 200-226.

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.


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 02 March 2024.