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Phaeophyta, Brown Algae

Cystoseira schiffneri Hamel

Phaeophyta,  Order: Fucales; Family: Cystoseiraceae.


Cystoseira means ‘chain of vesicles’, and it describes the air pockets in the thallus. The name of the species, Schiffneri, is dedicated to the French algae researcher, Schiffneri. The old name: ercegovicii, is dedicated to the Yugoslavian alga researcher who studied the Cystoseira genus.


The Cystoseira schiffneri generally resembles the Cystoseira compressa in shape. The central axis and central branches are covered with irregular warts and projections. Dark spots can be seen on the surface of the thallus that are, in fact, cryptoblasts, and cavities in the thallus contain hair. The air vesicles, if evident, are very small, singular and concentrated on the upper side of the plant.


Most Cystoseira schiffneri individuals found measure 15-30 cm in length. Some are larger.


Most Cystoseira schiffneri individuals are coloured shades of light brown and cream, sometimes uniformly, and sometimes with spots. When dried, the thallus takes on a darker shade.

Special features

It is difficult to distinguish between the Cystoseira schiffneri and the Cystoseira compressa. The former is more delicate and narrower. The Cystoseira schiffneri also has thorn-like protrusions within its rough joints.


The Cystoseira schiffneri grows in the intertidal zone, in potholes and tidal pools. In other countries, its appearance in the intertidal zone and even above the tidal line has been reported.

Biology and reproduction

Reproduction cells are contained in cavities concentrated on the upper parts of the Cystoseira schiffneri branches. Reproductive cells are discharged into the water, and the zygotes drift in the sea until they find a place to settle and germinate.

Seasonality and distribution

Cystoseira schiffneri is quit common along the Israeli coast. It is perennial; coastal colonies display an annual life cycle. The same has been reported regarding individuals collected from the Canary Islands.

Additional species

Cystoseira ercegovicii Giaccone is a pseudonym for Cystoseira discors (Linneaus) C. Agardh, which has been reported along Israeli shores. Both are synonymous with Cystoseira schiffneri.

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