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Seaweeds > Division Phaeophyta
Pyramid seaweed
Turbinaria sp.*
Family Sargassaceae
updated Jan 13

Where seen? This odd triangular seaweed is sometimes seen on our undisturbed Southern shores, growing on large boulders facing strong waves and currents, usually near the low water mark.

Features: Blades pyramidal or conical, solid, stiff; arranged around a vertical 'stem'. On rocks facing strong waves, these grow as short upright columns (6-8cm). In sheltered lagoons, those with very long 'stems' (20-30cm) are seen. Pyramid seaweed may have tiny bumps near the stem. These are probably reproductive structures (receptacles).

According to AlgaeBase: there are 30 current Turbinaria species.

Human uses: Pyramid seaweed is eaten by people (apparently best eaten boiled then pickled), used as fertiliser, pesticide, insecticide and insect repellent as well as medicine to treat fever in children (mixed with other seagrasses, boiled and the steam inhaled). It is often a minor component of sargassum seaweed (Sargassum sp.) harvests for commercial uses.

In Hawai'i, it is considered an introduced and thus alien, invasive weed that affects the native marine life there.

Sisters Island, Jan 06

Pyramid-shaped blades.

Short 'columns' on rocks facing waves.
Raffles Lighthouse, May 04

With long stems in more sheltered areas.
Pulau Semakau, Feb 07

Tiny bumps reproductive structures?

Raffles Lighthouse, Jul 06

Sisters Islands, Jan 06

Sisters Island, Aug 07

Some have spines on the edges.

*Seaweed species are difficult to positively identify without microscopic examination.
On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience of display.

Pyramid seaweeds on Singapore shores

Photos of Pyramid seaweeds for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Turbinaria species recorded for Singapore
Pham, M. N., H. T. W. Tan, S. Mitrovic & H. H. T. Yeo, 2011. A Checklist of the Algae of Singapore.

  Turbinaria condensata
Turbinaria conoides
Turbinaria conoides f. laticuspidata
Turbinaria conoides f. retroflexa
Turbinaria decurrens
Turbinaria murrayana
Turbinaria ornata
Turbinaria ornata var. serrata
Turbinaria trialata

Links References
  • Lee Ai Chin, Iris U. Baula, Lilibeth N. Miranda and Sin Tsai Min ; editors: Sin Tsai Min and Wang Luan Keng, A photographic guide to the marine algae of Singapore, 2015. Tropical Marine Science Institute, 201 pp.
  • Pham, M. N., H. T. W. Tan, S. Mitrovic & H. H. T. Yeo, 2011. A Checklist of the Algae of Singapore, 2nd Edition. Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore, Singapore. 99 pp. Uploaded 1 October 2011. [PDF, 1.58 MB].
  • Lim, S., P. Ng, L. Tan, & W. Y. Chin, 1994. Rhythm of the Sea: The Life and Times of Labrador Beach. Division of Biology, School of Science, Nanyang Technological University & Department of Zoology, the National University of Singapore. 160 pp.
  • Huisman, John M. 2000. Marine Plants of Australia University of Western Australia Press. 300pp.
  • Calumpong, H. P. & Menez, E. G., 1997.Field Guide to the Common Mangroves, Seagrasses and Algae of the Philippines. Bookmark, Inc., the Philippines. 197 pp.
  • Trono, Gavino. C. Jr., 1997. Field Guide and Atlas of the Seaweed Resources of the Philippines.. Bookmark, Inc., the Philippines. 306 pp.
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