Lesser Neptune Grass ( Cymodocea nodosa )


The Lesser Neptune Grass has light green, sometimes grey-green, leaves (1; 2). Leaves are typically 15 to 40cm in length and very narrow, often only 3 to 4 mm wide (1). 7 to 9 nerves run longitudinally. Rhizomes are slim, only millimetres in diameter, with ring-like marks at regular intervals (1). A pair of flowers can sometimes be present at the tip of a long stem (2). C. nodosa are often associated with Caulerpa racemosa and Zostera noltii (1).


C. nodosa is found on sandy substrates in well-lit, sheltered areas, from less than a metre to 10m depth (1).

Life Cycle

C. nodosa flowers after the minimum winter temperature from April to May. Seeds germinated after 8-10 months of dormancy (3).


C. nodosa is native to subtropical and tropical coasts, and can be found in warm Mediterranean waters (4).


C. nodosa gains nutrients through photosynthesis. This plant requires a lot of light, which is the reason its distribution is limited to 10m depth (4).

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List: Not Evaluated (5).

Bern Convention: Appendix I (6).


Description written by Sarah Marjoram (2009)

(1)   Boudouresque, C.-F..A.M.a.M.V., 1992. Guide des Algues des Mers d’Europe. Paris: Delachaux et Niestle.

(2)   Hayward, P..T.N.-S.a.C.S., 1996. Collins Pocket Guide: Sea Shore of Britain and Europe. London: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

(3)   Buia, M.C.a.L.M., 1991. Reproductive phenology of the Mediterranean seagrasses Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile, Cymodocea nodosa (Ucria) Aschers., and Zostera noltii Hornem. Aquatic Botany, 40(4), pp.343-62.

(4)   Istituto Veneto di Scienze, L.e.a., n.d. Dissemination: Environmental Database on the Lagoon of Venice. [Online] Available at: http://www.istitutoveneto.it/venezia/divulgazione/pirelli/pirelli_2005_en/Banca_Dati_Ambientale/ [Accessed 4 August 2009].

(5)   IUCN, 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.1. [Online] Available at: www.iucnredlist.org [Accessed 4 August 2009].

(6)   Europe, C.o., 2002. Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats: Bern Convention. [Online] Available at: http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/FR/Treaties/Html/104-2.htm [Accessed 4 August 2009].

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