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Chara Algae

Chara Algae belongs to the green algae group, and it is a genus of charophytes that belongs to the family Characeae. Since species belonging to the Chara Algae genus come under the green algae group, they all will have some common green algae characteristics like their appearance, habitats, etc. Chara algae resemble land plants because they have leaf-like and stem-like structures, and moreover, they are multicellular organisms.

Chara Algae

Chara Algae are found in an aquatic environment, but they prefer hard and less oxygenated water, and they are found in freshwater environments. Chara algae group is particularly present throughout the northern temperate zone (in the limestone areas), and they are not found in the water habitat where mosquito larvae are present. Chara Algae grow submerged in the freshwater & attached to the muddy bottom, and they are covered with calcium carbonate deposits. These calcium carbonate deposits that cover the chara algae are commonly known as Stonewort, and they are found deep inside the water. Here are complete details about Chara Algae, such as details regarding their morphology and distribution.

Introduction to Chara Algae

Chara algae, the common name for a genus of charophytes, belongs to the family Characeae of the green algae group. Following is the orderly scientific classification of the chara algae species:

Scientific Class Chara Algae group
Genus Chara
Family Characeae
Order Charales
Class Charophyceae
Division Charophyta
Kingdom Plantae

Many species belonging to Cyanobacteria or the Blue-green algae group have been found growing on the surface of chara algae in the form of epiphytes. These blue-green algae are depicted to be involved in fixing nitrogen which is important for the nutrition of Chara algae or host plants.

Chara Algae: Morphology

The plant body of Chara algae species is a form of gametophyte which consists of the following parts (along with their description):

  1. Stipulodes: These are needle-shaped structures present at the base of the secondary laterals of the gametophyte.
  2. Rhizoids: These are multicellular structures with oblique septa form.
  3. Dimorphic branches: This part is the branches of the gametophyte body, which is of the following two types:
    • Short branches with limited growth and,
    • Long branches with unlimited growth
  4. Main axis: This part of the gametophyte body is differentiated into nodes and internodes.

Chara Algae: Reproduction

Chara algae species follow the same reproduction pattern, common among green algae groups, which means they can reproduce both asexually and sexually. Asexual reproduction occurs in chara algae through vegetative reproduction. Vegetative reproduction in chara algae takes place by the secondary protonemata, amylum stars, and tubers part. Globule or antheridium (which is generally jacketed and multicellular) are the male sex organs in chara algae, whereas nucule or archegonium is the female sex organs. The sex organ formation of the chara algae such as antheridia and archegonia can occur in the following forms:

  • These parts can be found separately on the same plant, which is known as sejoined monoicy form, or,
  • It can be present together on the same plant, which is known as conjoined monoicy form, or,
  • These parts can also occur in separate plants, which is known as dioicy form.

The zygote develops into an oospore after fertilization takes place in chara algae.

Chara Algae: Structure

The branching system of the chara alga's body is very complex because the branches of them are derived from the apical cells and these apical cells cut off a segment at the base to form nodal and internodal cells alternatively in the alga body (at the base of branching structure). The branching system of chara algae, by means of rhizoids, is mainly Anchored through underground branching. Chara algae give a rough feel on touch because of the deposits of the calcium chloride in their outer cell walls. The metabolic process of chara algae plants is often associated with these deposits of calcium salts which also gives them a smell of hydrogen sulfide (distinctive and unpleasant smell).

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