The genus has thalli of two forms, either erect or prostrate. The erect plants are dichotomously branched to 40 centimetres (16 in) long with branches forming a compact spongy structure, not calcareous. The final branches form a surface layer of close palisade cortex of utricles. The non-erect species form either a prostrate or globular thallus with a velvet-like surface, the final branches forming a close cortex of utricles.
Two of these species are very rare in Ireland. Codium adhaerens has been recorded from a few sites on the west coast and from Tory Island on the north coast in County Donegal. In 1837 it was found in Church Bay in County Antrim, but has not been found there since.
There are other species of "doubtful validity":- Codium amphibium is included in William Henry Harvey's Phycologia Britannica Pl.xxxv. and noted as: "spreading in patches of great extent along the edge of the sea, over the surface of a turf-bog which meets the shore at Roundstone Bay" (Ireland).