Chara spp. - Muskgrass, Stonewort


 

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Chara spp. - (image 1 of 5)

 

Taxonomy

Kingdom: Protista

Phyllum: Chlorophyta (Green Algae)

Class: Charophyceae (Charophytes)

Order: Charales

Family: Characeae

Habitat

Fresh and occasionally brackish water. Often found in shallow water in fens.

Associates

 

Distribution

Widespread

Morphology

Submerged, multicellular algae with apical growth. Thallus (algal body) differentiated into nodal and internodal regions, often with heavily calcified cell walls. The tissue organization in the nodal regions is similar to the parenchyma of plants. Sperm flagellated, produced in multicellular antheridia. Fertilization takes place in the female gametangia called an oogonium. 

Notes

Wetland indicator: Obligate

Although not vascular plants or even a plants at all, the Stoneworts (Chara spp.) could easily be confused for a number of submerged aquatic plant species. Like plants, the cells of Stoneworts contain vacuoles and are surrounded by cell walls containing cellulose. Sometimes called muskgrass because they give off a musky or skunk-like odor.

References

Raven, P.H., R.F. Evert and S.E. Eichhorn. 2003. Biology of Plants, Sixth Edition.

W. H. Freeman and Company / Worth Publishers, New York, NY.

 


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 Michael Hough 2004