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Order Gelidiales

Family Gelidiaceae

Ptilophora diversifolia (Suhr) Papenfuss 1940: 214-216, fig. 11

Plants erect, red, up to 30 cm tall, with up to four orders of irregular, sparse branches; holdfast tough, fibrous; blades 2-5 mm wide, broadly winged, with distinct midrib throughout; distal branches mostly unbranched and up to 20 cm long, apices rounded; margins entire, undulate, crenate or eroded, and often bearing close pinnae; bases of branches often with reduced wings; blades smooth or rarely with numerous surface proliferations especially from the midrib. Vegetative anatomy of four layers; outer cortex of small, pigmented cells, inner cortex of larger cells, medulla of thick-walled filaments; outer and inner cortical layers separated by layer of rhizines. Reproductive structures borne on short bladelets arising from blade margins and surface; tetrrasporangia in sori; cystocarps bilocular.

Collections, ecology and regional distribution

Recorded from Port Elizabeth to just south of Durban (Tronchin 2003). Apparently a deeper-water species, either collected at depths of 30-40 m in Kwazulu-Natal or in drift.

World distribution: South African endemic.

Type locality: Between the Umtentu River (northern Transkei) and Umzimkulu River (Kwazulu-Natal) (Drege 1843: 155).

Note: This species is described and illustrated in detail by Norris (1992). P. diversifolia is considered to include the entity previously known as Ptilophora spissa (Suhr) Kutzing (Tronchin 2003).


Ptilophora diversifolia, Mkambati.

Ptilophora diversifolia, detail of fronds.


References Ptilophora diversifolia

Drège, J. F. 1843. Zwei pflanzengeographische Documente. Flora Beilage 26: 1-230.

Norris RE 1992. The marine red algae of Natal, South Africa: Order Gelidiales (Rhodophyta). Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa 61: 43 pages.

Papenfuss, G. F. 1940. Notes on South African marine algae, I. Botaniska Notiser 1940: 200-226, 16 fig.

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 26 February 2024.