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Chara fragilis
Scientific classification
Domain: Eukaryota
(unranked): Archaeplastida
Kingdom: Viridiplantae
(unranked): Streptophyta
Division: Charophyta
Class: Charophyceae
Rabenhorst, 1863

Charophyceae is a class (biology) of charophyte green algae. Some botanists include Charophyceae and chlorophyte green algae in the plant kingdom. [1] Charophyceae are a class within either the divisions Chlorophyta, Streptophytina, or Streptophyta.[2][3][4] Current consensus treats Charophyceae as a class under division Charophyta, with Chlorophyta remaining a distinct division.[5]

The Charophyceae include two orders of algae, the Charales or stoneworts and the Coleochaetales. The consensus among botanists is that the Coleochaetales are the algae most closely related to embryophytes (land plants).[1][6]

Many of the complex traits related to sexual reproduction, photosynthesis, and other defining characteristics of plants evolved first in charophytes; analysis of cpDNA (chloroplast DNA), for instance, reveals that many characteristics of plant chloroplasts evolved first in the charophyte genera Staurastrum and Zygnema.[1][7] Such research indicates that Embryophytes emerged within Charophyceae.[8][9]


  1. ^ a b c Campbell, N. A. & Reece, J. B. 2005. Biology, Seventh Edition. Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco.
  2. ^ Hoek, C. van den, Mann, D. G. & Jahns, H. M. 1995. Algae: An Introduction to Phycology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 0-521-30419-9
  3. ^ Streptophytina
  4. ^ McCourt, R. M., Chapman, R. L., Buchheim, M. & Mishler, B. D. “Green Plants”. Accessed 13 December 2007
  5. ^ Guiry, M.D. & Guiry, G.M. 2007. AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway.; searched on 13 December 2007
  6. ^ Delwiche, C. F. “Charophycean Green Algae”. Accessed 13 December 2007
  7. ^ Turmel, M., Otis, C. & Lemieux, C. 2005. The Complete Chloroplast DNA Sequences of the Charophycean Green Algae Staurastrum and Zygnema Reveal that the Chloroplast Genome Underwent Extensive Changes During the Evolution of the Zygnematales. BMC Biology 3:22
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ [2]