Australian Systematic Botany Australian Systematic Botany Society
Taxonomy, biogeography and evolution of plants

Growth-forms in Non-geniculate Coralline Red Algae (Coralliinales, Rhodophyta)

WJ Woelkerling, LM Irvine and AS Harvey

Australian Systematic Botany 6(4) 277 - 293
Published: 1993


Although differences in growth-form have been widely used in delimiting taxa of non-geniculate coralline red algae (Corallinales, Rhodophyta), there has been no consistent application of the more than 100 terms employed to describe the growth-forms present, and considerable confusion has resulted. This study of over 5000 populations of non-geniculate corallines from all parts of the world has shown that an intergrading network of growth-forms with 10 focal points is present: unconsolidated, encrusting, warty, lumpy, fruticose, discoid, layered, foliose, ribbon-like and arborescent. This focal point terminology can be used to describe any specimen or species of non-geniculate coralline in a consistent, easily interpretable manner. Details of the system are provided, the relationships of the system to past proposals are discussed, and the extent to which differences in growth-forms can be used as taxonomic characters in the non-geniculate Corallinales is reviewed.

© CSIRO 1993

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