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Order Ceramiales

Family Wrangeliaceae

Wrangelia purpurifera (Harvey) J. Agardh 1863: 707

Plants up to several cm tall, the basal region attached by several rhizoids originating from the basal cells of the whorl branches. Main axes prominent, the cells measuring up to 800 µm in length and 250 µm in diameter, each provided with 4 or 5 whorl branches; on the lower reaches the axes may be incompletely and loosely corticated by multicellular rhizoids. Indeterminate laterals not present in all whorls, although sometimes rather frequent. Determinate branchlets within one whorl of various development, the simplest consisting of just a single row of cells, the more intricate branchlets several times (sub)dichotomously branched. Apical cells of the whorl branchlets tapered to a sharp apex. Whorl branchlets up to 1.5 mm long

Tetrasporangia in branched clusters on the cells of main axes and indeterminate laterals, the vegetative branchlets in that case reduced in number. Tetrasporangia round, measuring ca. 75 µm in diameter, tetrahedrally divided and surrounded by short incurved filaments. Male stands round, ca. 75 µm in diameter, in repeatedly branched systems directly on main axes and laterals of indeterminate growth, replacing ordinary laterals; the male clusters surrounded by a few two- or three-celled involucral filaments. Carposporophytes seemingly terminal on indeterminate branches, up to 0.5 mm in diameter, surrounded by incurved branchlets from the segments below. Carpospores terminal on the gonimoblasts, teardrop-shaped, measuring ca. 90 x 40 μm.

Collections, ecology and regional distribution

Recorded along the West coast and to Mbotyi (1-47). It is often found in the (lower) intertidal and rarely grows on other plants. Stegenga et al. (1997) note that it is a species of spring and early summer.

World distribution: South African endemic.

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


Wrangelia purpurifera. 1 Part of main axis with whorled branchlets. 2 Tetrasporangiferous branch systems. Reproduced from Stegenga et al. (1997).

Wrangelia purpurifera. Thallus apex. Stilbaai, stained slide.

Wrangelia purpurifera. Tetrasporangia. Mbotyi, stained slide.

Wrangelia purpurifera. Carposporophyte. Stilbaai, stained slide.

Wrangelia purpurifera. Male thallus. Kei Mouth, stained slide.


References Wrangelia purpurifera

Agardh, J.G. 1863. Species genera et ordines algarum, seu descriptiones succinctae specierum, generum et ordinum, quibus algarum regnum constituitur. Volumen secundum: algas florideas complectens. Part 2, fasc. 3. pp. 787-1138, 1158-1291. Lundae [Lund]: C.W.K. Gleerup.

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 19 July 2024.