Charophyta is a taxonomic group comprised of green algae living mainly in freshwater habitats. The species belonging to this group are referred to as the charophytes. The charophytes are initially classified to division Chlorophyta according to Hoek, Mann and Jahns system.1 Newer classifications of algae though separate the charophytes from the chlorophytes, such as that in Leliaert et al.2 Accordingly, the charophytes, together with the embryophytes, belong to Streptophyta of Viridiplantae. The Viridiplantae is a clade of green plants and are characterized by having chlorophyll pigments a and b, the presence of cellulose in cell wall, lacking phycobilins, and the storing of starch within the plastids.
One of the main differences of charophytes and embryophytes from the chlorophytes is the use of phragmoplast serves as a scaffold for cell plate assembly and later on during the formation of a new cell wall during cell division.
Charophyta includes the following groups, Mesostigmatophyceae, Klebsormidiophyceae, Zygnematophyceae, Charophyceae, and Coleochaetales.
It should be noted, however, that the taxonomic classification of organisms is bound to change as further studies of the species would lead to newer system of classification, such as that in The NCBI taxonomy database.3
Word origin: Latin chara (“an unknown type of root”) + -phyta (plant)
1 Hoek, C. van den, Mann, D.G. and Jahns, H.M. (1995). Algae An Introduction to Phycology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2 Leliaert, F., Smith, D.R., Moreau, H., Herron, M.D., Verbruggen, H., Delwiche, C.F. & De Clerck, O. (2012). "Phylogeny and molecular evolution of the green algae" (PDF). Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 31: 1–46.
3 The NCBI taxonomy database. Retrieved from .