Scientific name

Nitella L.

Common names

stonewort, brittlewort



Could be confused with


Native distribution


Species commonly cultivated

Nitella spp.

Adventive distribution

information not available

Weed status

information not available


submersed, plant-like, delicate macroalga

Brief description

Filamentous macroalga. Elongate, delicate, stem-like branches with whorled secondary branchlets; branchlets sometimes compound and bushy; stipulodes absent. Oogonia produced in axils of branchlets.

Natural habitat

freshwater; still and slow-flowing waters that are clear and usually alkaline

Additional comments

Taxonomy and species identification is problematic. Nitella contains ca. 49-180 species worldwide. Nitella and Chara are freshwater, multicellular, branched macroalgae in the order Charales that are commonly confused with flowering aquatic plants. Nitella can be distinguished from Chara because it is odorless and soft to the touch.