Rhodophyta, Red Algae
Botryocladia botryoides (Wulfen) J. Feldmann
Rhodophyta, Order: Rhodymeniales; Family: Rhodymeniaccae.
Both the name of the genus (Botryocladia) and that of the species (botryoides) are derived from the algal resemblance to a cluster of grapes.
The Botryocladia is one of the most beautiful algae found along our coastline. Its branches are cylindrical, and they dichotomously branch out, ending in smooth, shiny bladders coloured burgundy-red. The effect is that of a small cluster of grapes. The bladders are salivary, losing their volume and shrinking when exposed to the air.
The algal length reaches 10 cm, but it is usually smaller and sometimes contains only a small number of vesicles or just one. The size of each vesicle is between 4 and 7 cm.
Botryocladia botryoides boasts a fiery red colour, ranging from dark pink to burgundy red.
The alga features a cluster of burgundy coloured bladders, sometimes solitary and sometimes bunched together by the dozens. Microscopic observation of a bladder section reveals its membrane to be composed of tiny, dark cells. On the inside, one finds onion-shaped ‘bulb-cells’.