A green seaweed (Cladophora liniformis)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



Cladophora liniformis is a green seaweed that forms unattached masses of simple or sparsely and irregularly branched light to dark (bluish) green filaments up to 9 cm long. The branches are separated at the base by an oblique dividing wall. It is common in sheltered brackish environments but its seasonality is poorly known.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Very sparse around the British Isles with few records in the south of the North Sea, along the west coast of Scotland and eastern coasts of Northern Ireland.

Global distribution

Commonly recorded in Europe, from Arctic western Russia, Germany, Netherlands and France, to the Mediterranean, the Adriatic Sea and the Black Sea. It is also recorded in the western Atlantic from Quebec, south to the Caribbean and in the North Pacific.


Cladophora liniformis commonly inhabits sheltered brackish water, lying on mud or sand, sometimes forming felt-like mats, or free-floating in estuaries or quiet marine habitats such as harbours and lagoons. It is often entangled with Ulva and other algae around the bases of Zostera plants.

Depth range

Lower shore to shallow sublittoral

Identifying features

  • Light green to dark (bluish) green fronds (thalli), up to 9 cm long.
  • Laterally branched filaments.
  • Rhizoids are present rarely but they do not bind to the substratum.
  • Very small cell size (22 to 90 µm).
  • Varies from pale green to dark (bluish) green.

Additional information

The densely branched thallus of Cladophora liniformis is very similar to free floating Cladophora flexuosa and Cladophora vagabunda (Cormaci, et al., 2014). In brackish areas Cladophora liniformis is often confused with Cladophora globulina and Cladophora glomerata (Brodie et al., 2007).

Listed by

- none -


  1. Brodie, J., Maggs, C.A. & John, D.M., (ed.) 2007. Green Seaweeds of Britain and Ireland. British Phycology Society.

  2. Bunker, F.StP. D., Brodie, J., Maggs, C.A. & Bunker. A.R., 2012. Seasearch Guide to Seaweeds of Britain and Ireland. Plymouth: Wild Nature Press.

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

  4. Cormaci, M., Furnari, G. & Alongi, G., 2014. Flora marina bentonica del Mediterraneo: Chlorophyta. Bollettino dell'Accademia Gioenia di Scienze Naturali. 47, 11-436.

  5. Guiry, M.D., 2021. AlgaeBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. National University of Ireland, Galway: [cited 27 September 2021]. Available from: http://www.algaebase.org


  1. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

  2. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2024-05-21

  3. South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre, 2018. SEWBReC Algae and allied species (South East Wales). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/55albd accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.

  4. Merseyside BioBank, 2017. Merseyside BioBank (unverified). Occurrence dataset https://doi.org/10.15468/iou2ld accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-07-24.


This review can be cited as:

Lloyd, K.A., 2021. Cladophora liniformis A green seaweed. In Tyler-Walters H. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 21-05-2024]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/2344

Last Updated: 27/09/2021