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Name derivation:

Ptilota= Gr. ptilotos: winged or with flanges

serrata= L. serratus: serrate, saw-edged, or with sharp teeth

Common name = feather weed


Ptilota gunneri C.A. Agardh (1817); 4 out of 44 species descriptions are currently accepted taxonomically (Guiry and Guiry 2014).

Order Ceramiales;  Family Wrangeliaceae




Algae are bushy, stiff, dark brown to purple-red, to 15 (-25) cm tall, abundantly branched, with flat fronds, and attached by a fibrous holdfast.  Main axes distinctly flattened and irregularly alternate or somewhat dichotomous.  Second order branching opposite or with one of each pair suppressed below, while more regular above.  Axes uniaxial with the central filament densely corticated except at apical cells.  Tetrasporangia tetrahedral, on reduced branchlets and associated with short incurved uniseriate filaments.  Cystocarps terminal, also on reduced branchlets and opposite flattened sterile ones.

Similar genera:



A common perennial growing on rocks, stones, other algae (Laminaria) or fauna (Botenia) within deep low tide pools as an under story species and in extensive subtidal beds to 10 to 50 m in the Gulf of Maine USA.




Guiry, M.D. and G.M. Guiry  2014.  AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway. http://www.algaebase.org; searched on 19 December 2012.

Norall, T. L., A. C. Mathieson and J. A. Kilar. 1981. Reproductive ecology of four subtidal red algae. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 54: 119-136.

Taylor, W. R.  1957. Marine Algae of the Northeastern Coast of North America. Revised edition. Univ. Michigan Press., Ann Arbor, ix + 509 pp.