Life in the pond: Chara

Photo by C.Ricci & B.Baldock, Feb. 2014

Chara globularis stalks and side branches

An interesting green alga, about 100 mm tall, growing on the bottom of the Botanic Garden’s ponds has appeared — it is Chara globularis.

Carolyn Ricci and Bob Baldock from the State Herbarium’s Phycology Unit report that the alga is often found in calcium-rich waters. Its central stalks are ribbed with cells that accumulate lime crystals, and there are rings of stiff side branches ending in points.

Photo by C.Ricci & B.Baldock, Feb. 2014

Chara globularis, close-up

The female organs are bottle-shaped, wrapped in five twisted cells and stoppered with a cellular plug. Male organs in this species are spherical, lurk just beneath the females and are orange.

Who said that algae are simple life forms?