A small red alga, up to 15 cm tall, with a leaf-like frond, with midrib, lateral veins and serrated margin that give the impression of an oak leaf. The disc-like holdfast gives rise to a short toughened stipe. In winter the frond wears away due to a combination of cessation of growth and wave action, leaving just the mid-rib, the blade growing back in spring. Phycodrys rubens is light crimson in colour and can be distinguished from the similarly leaf-like Delesseria sanguinea by the deeply serrated frond and branching habit.
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