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Halophila ovalis (R.Br.) Hook.f.
Family Hydrocharitaceae
Halophila ovalis (R.Br.) Hook.f. APNI*

Synonyms: Halophila ovalis subsp. ovalis (R.Br.) Hook.f. APNI*

Description: Submerged marine aquatic dioecious perennial; rhizomes to 2 mm diam.; scales glabrous.

Leaves appearing to arise directly from the main stem, glabrous; lamina oval to elliptic, 1–6 cm long, with 10–25 pairs of cross-veins; margins entire; petiole 1–5 cm long.

Flowers unisexual, mostly solitary, arising from 2 free lanceolate, overlapping, ± mucronate bracts 3–11 mm long. Male flowers ± sessile or on a pedicel to 20 mm long at anthesis; spathe sessile; perianth segments c. 4 mm long, deeply hooded and at first enveloping the anthers. Female flowers with spathe on elongated branches to 8 cm long off main stem; ovary 1–5 mm long; hypanthium 3–5 mm long; perianth segments minute.

Fruit 3–6 mm long, globose, beaked, sessile.


Flowering: Rarely flowers but more likely during warmer months.

Distribution and occurrence: Known from all Australian States; also coastal regions in Indian and western Pacific Oceans.

Normally grows from between the tide levels to c. 15 m deep on a wide range of substrates, often common on unstable substrates.
NSW subdivisions: NC, CC, SC, LHI
Other Australian states: Qld Vic. Tas. S.A. W.A. N.T.
AVH map***

Text by S. W. L. Jacobs (1993); edited KL Wilson (Feb 2011)
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW 4 (1993); ms (unpublished) 2007


APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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