Key to the common species of Ceramium

1 Plants with conspicuous prostrate as well as erect axes 2
1 Plants lacking or having inconspicuous prostrate axes 3
2 Tetrasporangial nodes with sporangial walls overlapping each other, giving node ballooning effect C. hanaense R.E.Norris & Abbott
2 Tetrasporangial nodes without sporangial walls overlapping, but sporangia hiding nodal structure; vegetative nodes having simple pointed projection C. cingulum Meneses
3 One to several conspicuous 1-3-celled spines at each node, especially protuberant near apices C. dumosertum R.E. Norris & Abbott
3 Spines lacking at nodes 4
4 Plants mostly dichotomously branched, their apices paired and turned toward each other C. clarionense Setch. & Gardn
4 Plants irregularly to alternately branched, their apices not turned toward each other 5
5 Nodes appreciably extending beyond width of internodes, often lower tiers of cells of nodes separated from remaining nodal cells by a horizontal line C. flaccidum   (Kützing) Ardissone
5 Nodes usually not much wider than internodes, with no separation of nodal cells 6
6 Plants alternately branched, the terminal branches sickle-shaped, partially enclosed within the next older branch; gland cells common in cortex of older nodes C. aduncum Nakamura
6 Plants irregularly branched, branches not sickle-shaped, nodes in younger parts of plants with soft inflated cell projecting laterally C. fimbriatum Setch. & Gardn.

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