Fronds of Corallina officinalis grow in tufts that develop from a flat coralline base. They are segmented to provide flexibility in seawater. The fronds are also oppositely branched.
This seaweed is a dull purple but its colour can vary depending on the conditions. It can appear red, yellow or white when bleached in bright light.
Individuals are usually 1 to12 cm tall.
The name Corallina officinalis has been used for specimens that look very similar and are found in other parts of the world, but these may not be the same species.