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Black sea rod
Plexaura homomalla
(Esper, 1792)

Colonies are bushy but compressed in vertical planes. Tend to branch laterally, with only occasional dichotomous branching. Mature colonies are up to 35 cm in height. It occurs in two forms: forma homomalla is broad with end branches of 4-5 mm in diameter; forma kuekenthali is taller with terminal branches of 2.5 mm in diameter. End branches are about 10 cm long. The tissue surrounding the apertures may be completely flat or only slightly raised.

Stalks brown to black; polyps contrasting light yellow brown to brown.

Inhabit clear water patch reefs, to 55 meters depth. In shallow waters forma homomalla is more abundant, while in deeper waters especially forma kuekenthali is found.

Common Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean.

A very powerful drug, called a prostaglandin, has been found in significant quantities in Plexaura homomalla . It has the ability to induce labor and therapeutic abortion, speed the healing of stomach ulcers, and reverse the effect of cyanotic congenital heart disease.

Black sea rod (Plexaura homomalla)