Iridescent cartilage weed (Chondria coerulescens)
|Researched by||Rose Edwards||Refereed by||Admin|
|Authority||(J.Agardh) Falkenberg, 1901|
|Other common names||-||Synonyms||-|
Chondria coerulescens has bluish or yellowish fronds with blue iridescence. The fronds are flexible and cartilaginous in texture, turning black when dry. Young axes show a striking turquoise iridescence when alive. The thalli consist of cylindrical erect axes or trailing tufts, and is 3-8 cm high when erect. The distinct main axis is 0.4-0.5 mm in diameter, branching sparsely at irregular intervals in a spiral pattern to 1-3 orders of branching. Branches are linear, often long and curve downwards gradually tapering to a slender point, and reattach by secondary holdfast. The morphology shows relatively little variation except that some thalli consist only of inconspicuous isolated erect axes whereas others form dense tufts.
Recorded distribution in Britain and IrelandRecorded from the Salcombe Estuary, The Isle of Wight, Milford Haven, Exmouth and Portsmouth.
Global distributionEngland to Morocco; Mediterranean
HabitatChondria coerulescens is a subtidal species, growing on pebbles in mud from extreme low water to 4 m depth. It inhabits extremely wave sheltered sites, usually in inlets with moderate to strong current exposure.
- Small species, up to 8 cm high.
- Branched cylindrical axes.
- Distinctive bright blue iridescence.
- Sparsely branched at irregular intervals in a spiral pattern.
Chondria coerulescens may be confused with Laurencia obtusa. Microscope examination of the periaxial (surrounding the axis) cells would be needed to separate them. Although Chondria coerulescens is nationally rare, it can be abundant in favourable habitats.
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Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2018. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Herbarium (E). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/ypoair accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.
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Last Updated: 04/07/2005