University Herbarium, UC Berkeley



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1. Stipe more than 15 cm long; distal end of sporophyll sterileAlaria fragilis
1. Stipe less than 15 cm long; sorus covers sporophyll 2

2. Length of sporophylls more than five times breadth; mid-intertidal 4
2. Length of sporophylls less than five times breadth; low intertidal or subtidal 3

3.Sporophylls thicker than the blade; with asymmetrical cordate baseAlaria marginata
3. Sporophyll about as thick as blade; with symmetrical baseAlaria taeniata

4. Sporophyll petioles 3 mm or more in diameterAlaria crispa
4. Sporophyll petioles approximately 1 mm in diameterAlaria nana


1.Blade wide, orbicular, unbranched; one or more blades arising from short holdfastDesmarestia tabacoides
1. Blades branched 2

2. Plants cylindrical (or slightly compressed) throughout 3
2. Plants flattened or ligulate, at least in part 4

3. Branching alternateDesmarestia aculeata
3. Branching generally oppositeDesmarestia viridis

4. Plants terete or compressed in lower axes, ligulate aboveDesmarestia latifrons
4. Plants ligulate throughout, with visible midribDesmarestia ligulata


1. Plurilocular structures uniseriate and multiseriate on both creeping and upright filamentsEctocarpus commensalis
1. Plurilocular structures multiseriate (except in cases of abnormality) on erect filaments only 2

2. Plants usually less than 5 cm high 3
2. Plants over 5 cm high 4

3. Plant densely corticated below; usually more than 3mm tall;Ectocarpus corticulatus
3. Plant not corticated; 1 -2 mm tallEctocarpus simulans

4. Terminal ramuli long and acuteEctocarpus acutus
4. Terminal ramuli long and attenuatedEctocarpus siliculosus


1. Holdfast discoid 2
1. Holdfast of distinct, branched haptera 3

2. Mucilage ducts absent from blade; throughout local areaLaminaria ephemera
2. Mucilage ducts present in blade; not reported south of northern British ColumbiaLaminaria yezoensis

3. Numerous stipes arising from rhizoidal holdfast systemLaminaria sinclairii (in part)
3. One stipe arising from each holdfast 4

4. Mucilage ducts absent from stipe 5
4. Mucilage ducts present in stipe 7

5. Stipe complanate, usually longer than 30 cmLaminaria complanata
5. Stipe terete, usually shorter than 20 cm 6

6. Bullae, when present, in two rows parallel to margin of bladeLaminaria saccharina
6. Bullae covering entire bladeLaminaria farlowii

7. Stipe terete throughout; blade deeply dissected into many narrow, uniform segmentsLaminaria setchellii
7. Stipe often slightly to extensively complanate 8

8. Blade often bullate; generally dissected, of few segments varying in width and lengthLaminaria bongardiana
8. Blade always smooth; not dissected though they may be tornLaminaria sinclairii (in part)


1.Upright filaments with several discoid plastids in each cellMyrionema strangulans
1.Upright filaments with one or two plastids per cell2

2.Discs less than 1 mm in diameter; plurangia present; on PhyllospadixMyrionema balticum
2.Discs up to 2 mm in diameter; unangia present; on laminariansMyrionema corunnae


1.Plants with prominently overlapping lobes or layersRalfsia fungiformis
1.Without prominent overlapping lobes or layers2
2.Crusts fleshy or coriaceous, cells of upper horizontal layers 3 to 4 times long as wideRalfsia hesperia
2.Crusts firm, not fleshy or coriaceous, cell of horizontal layers not over twice as long as wideRalfsia pacifica

See also the sporophyte of Petalonia fascia (=Ralfsia californica), which is dark brown and possesses unilocular structures only.


1. Branching regularly pinnate 3
1. Branching irregular, sometimes sparse; basal discs small, often connected by creeping filaments 2

2. Zones of 4- 6 longitudinal cells in lateral view; propagules absentSphacelaria racemosa
2. Zones of 1- 4 longitudinal cells in lateral view; propagules presentSphacelaria rigidula

3. Lateral branchlets longer from base to apex, giving a pyramidal appearanceSphacelaria norrisii
3. Lateral branchlets of same length, so branch has straight sided appearanceSphacelaria plumigera

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