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Order Ceramiales

Family Wrangeliaceae

Tiffaniella schmitziana (Barton) Bolton et Stegenga 1987: 177, figs. 6d,e

Plants creeping on the surface of sturdy algae (Zonaria spp., Gelidium abbottiorum, Corallines), the creeping filaments giving off a hapteron on the proximal ventral side of the cells, an erect filament on the distal dorsal side. Cells of the creeping filaments ca. 30 μm in diameter, about 4 times as long as broad. Erect filaments up to a few mm tall, irregularly and often not frequently branched, although on the apices a uniseriate row of laterals may be present. Erect filaments somewhat variable in diameter, from ca. 25 μm near the base to ca. 50 μm in the middle, filaments not tapering much towards the apices. Cell length in the erect filaments varying from 3 to 7 times the diameter.

Tetrasporangia in small cymose clusters on the basal areas of the erect filaments, usually not more than one (two) clusters per cell. Tetrasporangia measuring up to ca. 70 x 55 μm, tetrahedrally divided. Spermatangia in a unilateral row of sessile cylindrical clusters on subterminal cells. Spermatangial clusters with a four- to five-celled axis, measuring ca. 100 x 45 μm. Female fertile filament three-celled, terminal on a one- or two-celled lateral, the subterminal cell with one sterile pericentral cell and two fertile pericentrals. Carposporophytes with a large deltoid fusion cell consisting of the two proximal cells of the fertile filament, the auxiliary cells and proximal gonimoblast cells. Only the terminal cells of the gonimoblasts develop into carposporangia, measuring ca. 50 x 42 μm. The complete carposporophyte may measure ca. 250 μm in diameter.

Collections, ecology and regional distribution

Recorded from Kraalbaai in Langebaan Lagoon (west coast) to at least the Eastern Cape – KwaZulu-Natal border (18-47) but probably occurs further north. Stegenga et al. (1997) report it as epilithic but more usually epiphytic. 

World distribution: South African endemic.

Type locality: “Cape of Good Hope”, South Africa (Silva et al. 1996).


Tiffaniella schmitziana. 1 Apex of prostrate filament with young erect axes. 2 Apex of erect axis. 3 Procarp. 4 Tetrasporangia. Reproduced from Stegenga et al. (1997).

Tiffaniella schmitziana.  Microscopic habit with carposporophytes. Stained slide, Goukamma oyster beds.

Tiffaniella schmitziana. Carposporophytes : note deltoid fusion cell. Stained slide, Goukamma oyster beds.

Tiffaniella schmitziana. Male thallus. Stained slide, Goukamma oyster beds.


References Tiffaniella schmitziana

Bolton, J.J. & Stegenga, H. 1987. The marine algae of Hluleka (Transkei) and the warm temperate/subtropical transition on the east coast of southern Africa. Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen 41: 165-183.

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.