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Order Gelidiales

Family Gelidiaceae

Ptilophora Kützing


Thalli erect, up to about 35 cm tall (in south coast species), red. Holdfast fibrous. Erect axes cylindrical at base, otherwise winged and bladelike, up to 5 mm wide, midrib distinct at least in main part of main axes. Some species with small bladelike outgrowths from surface of midrib and/or blades. Branches arising from margins and /or surfaces main axes. Cross-sectional anatomy showing cortex of several layers of small pigmented cells, outer cells small, cells of inner layer(s) becoming larger; medulla of large colourless cells (longitudinally-arranged filaments); rhizines interspersed between cortical layers, absent from smaller blades. Reproductive structures borne in marginal bladelets, tetrasporangia in sori; cystocarps single, bilocular, with ostiole on each surface of bladelet.

Sixteen species are currently recognized in the genus; eight of these are found in South African waters (Tronchin 2003), of which we record two from the south coast..

Key to species


1a. Main branches strap-shaped, unbranched-sparsely branched

Ptilophora diversifolia

1b. Main branches regularly pinnately branched, fern-like

Ptilophora pinnatifida


Referrences Ptilophora

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 02 March 2024.