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Diagnostic features

Filamentous green alga with very large and long cells forming primary axes and whorls of branches.  These secondary branches are themselves branched (cf. Chara). Reproductive structures - oogonia and antheridia - occur on the branches, but are often absent. Filaments are never corticated (cf. some species of Chara). Mounds of Nitella can be many centimetres in diameter. Charophyte cells are siphonous, the stems between branch points being the length of a single long cell containing numerous chloroplasts and nuclei.

Typical habitats

Common in slow flowing streams with moderate to good water quality.


Kingdom Plantae
Phylum Charophyta
Class Charophyceae
Order Charales
Family Characeae
Common name Green algae