Chara fibrosa


Chara: Origin unknown, possibly from the Greek charis 'grace' or 'beauty'
fibrosa: fibrous, from the Latin fibra; matted fibrous trunk

Common Name(s)



Chara fibrosa (Agardh ex Bruzelius) R.D. Wood



Brief Description

Small branched spiny submerged plant looking like a minature pine tree.

Flora Category

Non Vascular - Native


Indigenous. New Zealand: North, South Island. Widespread globally.


Oligotrophic lakes.


Aquatic, submerged, macro-algae. Spinose appearance, with outward-facing, spine-like cells on branchlet whorls and central stems. Branches are not forked. Stems are covered by a secondary cell layer (cortication), making them more resistant to physical damage. Accessory cells at junctions between branchlet cells are long and spine-like. Stems are anchored in the sediment by colourless rhizoids. Plant is monoecious, with antheridia and oogonia on the same plant often located together, and with fruiting bodies dispersed over the upper stem portions.

Similar Taxa

Differs from Lamprothamnium macropogon by having spreading spine-like cells all over the stems, compared to downward pointing spines around the branchlet whorl only in the brackish water species.


Produces large (>500µm long) black oospores that are round in transverse section. Oospore has 7-9 sinistral spiralling ridges.

Propagation Technique

Fragments or oospores.

References and further reading

Broady, P.A.; Flint, E.A.; Nelson, W.A.; Cassie Cooper, V.; de Winton, M.D.; Novis P.M. Chapter 23 Twenty –Three :Phyla Chlorophyta and Charophyta (Green Algae). In: New Zealand Inventory of Biodiversity (Volume 3), Gordon, D.P. (Ed), Canterbury University Press, 616pp.

Casanova, M.T.; de Winton, M.D.; Karol, K.G.; Clayton J.S. (2007). Nitella hookeri A. Braun (Characeae, Charophyceae) in New Zealand and Australia: implications for endemism, speciation and biogeography. Charophytes (1): 2-18

de Winton, M.D.; Dugdale, A.M.; Clayton, J.S. (2007). An identification key for oospores of the extant charophytes of New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany:463-476

Wood RD, Mason R 1977. Characeae of New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 15: 87–180.

This page last updated on 7 Jan 2013