E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Leathesia difformis Areschoug
no common name
Leathesiaceae

Introduction to the Algae
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Distribution of Leathesia difformis
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Ocean Biogeography Information System (global distribution)

Species Information

Family Description:
Members of this family are cushion-shaped or globular and rather spongy. They are composed of aggregated filaments that are differentiated into a medulla of large, colorless cells and a cortex of small-celled filaments.
Species description:
When mature, sea cauliflower forms yellowish-brown, hollow, globular to deeply convoluted thick-walled cushions about the size of grapefruit. If you press a piece of this species between your fingers it disintegrates easily into its constituent filaments (in contrast to the thin, smooth-walled sacs of Colpomenia). When very immature it is easily confused with young studded sea balloons (Saranthera ulvoided). The great Swedish botanist, Carolus Linnaeus, thought that sea cauliflower was a jelly fungus, hence the early name Tremella

Sea cauliflower is an annual that grows either on rocks, or, more frequently, as an epiphyte on several other species of algae. It is often abundant, forming a peculiar bumpy carpet in the mid-intertidal zone. We have seen it both on outer exposed coasts and also in protected inland waters.

Sea cauliflower occurs epiphytically on articulated coralline algae in many areas along the coast. When corallines were experimentally removed from rocks exposed to abrasion by sand, the sea cauliflower was not able to colonize the rock directly.

Source: North Pacific Seaweeds

Habitat / Range

Bathymetry: upper mid-intertidal to low intertidal.
Local Distribution: In British Columbia, this species is found along the coast.
World Distribution: Bering Sea to Baja California, Mexico; Chile; western North Pacific, North Atlantic; North Sea.

Source: North Pacific Seaweeds

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Tremella difformis L.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References