information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

A green seaweed (Prasiola stipitata)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.
Only coastal and marine records shown



Prasiola stipitata is a small, dark green, wedge-shaped to oval algae, which grows up to 1 cm long. It has a flat membrane, narrowing to the distinct stem-like structure (stipe) half as long as length of the frond. The margins of the frond are curled.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Widely distributed around the British coast in suitable habitats.

Global distribution

Common in northwest Europe, North Cape south to Gibraltar. Iceland, Faeroes; Newfoundland.


Prasiola stipitata grows in bands or patches on bedrock and stones, especially those that receive nitrate enrichment from nearby roosting sea birds, in the supralittoral and littoral fringe, and extends into estuaries. It inhabits wave-exposed to moderately exposed sites.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Grows as small, dark green tufts.
  • Frond fan or spear shaped.
  • Stipe half to one, or more times as long as the blade.

Additional information

The most common of the Prasiola species although records of it may include other Prasiola species with which it has been confused (Hardy & Guiry, 2003). The cellular structure of the stipe and blade or the thallus is requires to discriminate between species (see Burrows, 1991 for details).

Its abundance in maximal in winter. In the south of Britain and as far north as the Orkneys, it disappears in summer. But further north Prasiola stipitata persists through the whole year (Burrows, 1991).

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

Search on:


  1. Burrows, E.M., 1991. Seaweeds of the British Isles. Volume 2. Chlorophyta. London: British Museum (Natural History).

  2. Fish, J.D. & Fish, S., 1996. A student's guide to the seashore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  3. Hardy, F.G. & Guiry, M.D., 2003. A check-list and atlas of the seaweeds of Britain and Ireland. London: British Phycological Society

  4. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  5. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line]

  6. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from:  Accessed 01 April 2017


This review can be cited as:

Edwards, R.V. 2003. Prasiola stipitata A green seaweed. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 17-08-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 06/10/2003