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

Neoptilota asplenioides (Esper) Kylin
sea fern
Ceramiaceae

Introduction to the Algae
Once images have been obtained, photographs of this species will be displayed in this window.Click on the image to enter our photo gallery.
Currently no image is available for this taxon.
E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Neoptilota asplenioides
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Ocean Biogeography Information System (global distribution)

Species Information

Family Description:
These are all very finely branched red seaweeds. Plants are often uniseriate (monosiphonous) filaments, which are corticated by small cells or rhizoids in some species. These filaments are the main axis of the plant. Branching is opposite, alternate, or verticillate (with branches arranged in whorls around the axis). Many branches have determinate growth, and are usually called branchlets, but a few continue to grow to produce new axes like the one bearing them (these continue to be called branches). Tetrasporangia are cruciately or tetrahedrally divided. In some cases, bisporangia (sporangia containing two spores) or polysporangia (sporangia containing many spores) are borne in place of tetrasporangia. Cystocarps are naked or at most surrounded by involucral filaments. Most plants in this family are quite small and require a microscope or very good hand lens to see these diagnostic features.
Species description:
Large patches of this attractive red alga can be found on exposed coastlines in our area, but we have occasionally seen very small specimens in more protected waters. A bright red and rather fernlike species, Sea Fern reaches a height of about 30 cm (12 in) and has several orders of progressively smaller branches arising from a tough, discoidal holdfast. The branches are in pairs, and one branch of each pair remains determinate (that is, stops growing and never produces any reproductive structures) while the other branch, of course, does mature but usually also stays short. Therefore, when a specimen is mature, every alternate branch is sterile and opposite a fertile branch.

The entire organism is quite compressed (flattened), especially the ultimate orders of branching. On specimens we have seen from the outer coast of Chichagof Island in Southeast Alaska, the ultimate leaflets have serrations (tiny teeth) on both the adaxial (the side closer to the axis) and abaxial (the side further from the axis) sides, but the teeth on the adaxial side are smaller. These ultimate leaflets are very flattened and their tips curve towards the axis from which they have arisen.

This elegant species makes delightful pressings, but if you collect it, remember to leave many specimens in place so that it can continue to propagate itself

Source: North Pacific Seaweeds

Habitat / Range

Bathymetry: low intertidal and upper subtidal
World Distribution: Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, Alaska, to northern Washington; western North Pacific

Source: North Pacific Seaweeds

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Fucus asplenioides
Plumaria asplenioides
Ptilota asplenioides

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

General References