Turkish Towel

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Chondracanthus exasperatus

Color: Red (Dark red to purple when young, red to yellow when older, can be iridescent when wet.)
Shape: Irregular Blade
Texture: Bumpy
Size: 12–32”
Zone: Low intertidal and subtidal
Range: Alaska to Mexico

Description: Broad blade, irregular edges. Small discoid holdfast, one or more blades per hold fast. Covered with small bumps (papillae).

Edibility: Used to make carrageenan

Distinctive characteristics:

Collection notes: Can be used like a loofah

Phylum: Rhodophyta (Red Algae)
Previous names: Gigartina exasperata, Gigartina californica, Gigartina radula
Similar species: Mastocarpus papillatus

Soda Straws, Whip Tube

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Scytosiphon simplicissimus

Soda StrawsSmall Grouping of Soda Straws Growing on Large RockSoda Straws Close Up Showing SegmentingClump of Soda Straws

Color: Brown
Shape: Tube-like
Texture: Segmented
Size: Up to 2’
Zone: Intertidal
Range: Alaska to South America

Description: Long narrow tubes, less than .5” in diameter, in clusters but not branched. Small disc-like holdfast. Simplicissimus is segmented, reminiscent of sausage links; other species of Scytosiphon are not.

Edibility: Edible

Distinctive characteristics:

Collection notes:

Phylum: Phaeophyta (Brown Algae)
Previous names: Chorda lomentaria, Scytosiphon lomentaria
Similar species: Melanosiphon intestinalis and other Melanosiphon (Twisted Soda Straws). Can also be confused with Ralfsia in its crustose phase, when it looks like a brown coating on rocks.

Sea Lettuce, Aosa, Green Laver

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Ulva fenestrata, Ulva lactuca

Tufts of Nori at the Top of a Rock Covered with Sea LettuceSea Lettuce HolesSea Lettuce

Color: Green (Bright)
Shape: Sheet
Texture: Smooth, often with holes like Swiss-cheese
Size: 4–12”+
Zone: Intertidal
Range: Alaska to California (Ulva fenestrata), World-wide (Ulva lactuca and other species)

Description: Bright green thin, lettuce-like “leaves” attached in tufts to a small holdfast. May be white at the edges. Several similar species. Some have holes like Swiss-cheese. Can be long or round. Prefers calm areas.

Edibility: Makes a tasty fresh salad.

Distinctive characteristics:

Collection notes: If sea lettuce populations are particularly profuse or dominant, check to be sure the area is free of sewage drainage or other pollution before collecting as sea lettuce grows particularly well in these conditions. Rinse with water to remove small sea creatures such as snails hiding in the blades.

Phylum: Chlorophyta (Green Algae)
Previous names:
Similar species: Easy to confused with Monostroma. Monostroma is only one cell layer thick while Sea Lettuce is two cell layers thick. Monostroma grows in a circle around a disc-shaped holdfast; Sea Lettuce has a short stipe growing up out of the holdfast. Also similar to other Ulva species. All are edible.

Sargassum, Wireweed

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Sargassum muticum

Large Mass of Sargassum in Tide PoolSargassum During Receding TideSargassum Covering the Beach

Color: Brown (Golden)
Shape: Branched (Profusely)
Texture: Bushy
Size: Up to 6’+
Zone: Intertidal to Subtidal
Range: Alaska to Mexico

Description: A cascade of tiny blades with on a long, thin stipe with many branches, dotted with small, round, bead-like vesicles. The stipe is attached to a small disc-like holdfast. The blades are less that 1 inch with toothed edges. Sargassum sometimes forms floating masses and prefers wave-sheltered areas.

Edibility: Edible

Distinctive characteristics: Aggressive invasive species.

Collection notes:

Phylum: Phaeophyta (Brown Algae)
Previous names: Sargassum kjellmaniaum f. muticum
Similar species: Sargassum natans (of the Sargasso Sea), Cystoseira geminata, which has pointy floats, in addition to round ones.

Dulse, Red Ribbon, Red Kale

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Palmaria mollis

Color: Red
Shape: Irregular Blades
Texture: Smooth
Size: 8–10”
Zone: Intertidal to Subtidal
Range: Alaska to Mexico

Description: The name “palmaria” comes from the hand-shaped arrangement of the blades. Irregular blades are attached to a small disc-shaped holdfast.

Edibility: Versatile. Leathery when dried. High in iron and other vitamins and minerals. Eaten in Scandinavia and the British Isles by people and sheep.

Distinctive characteristics:

Collection notes:

Phylum: Rhodophyta (Red Algae)
Previous names: Palmaria palmata forma Mollis, Rhodymenia palmata
Similar species: Palmaria pinannatifida, Rhodymenia pertusa, Palmaria callophylloides, Palmeria hecatensis

Nori, Laver, Black Seaweed

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Porphyra abbottae, Porphyra perforata and other similar species

Tufts of Nori at the Top of a Rock Covered with Sea LettuceNori and Other Seaweeds on a Rock in a Tide PoolDrying Nori on a Clothes LineNori

Color: Brown (Greenish, Purpleish or Nearly Black)
Shape: Sheet
Texture: Smooth
Size: Up to 1’
Zone: Intertidal
Range: Alaska to Mexico

Description: Thin, nearly transparent sheets grow clinging on rock. Tiny holdfast. Can appear ruffly. Porphyra abbottae is slightly longer and narrower; Porphyra perforata may have small holes.

Edibility: Delicious! This is the seaweed used to make sushi and is eaten widely in Japan and throughout the world. Porphyra abbottae is considered the tastier species in our area.

Distinctive characteristics:

Collection notes: Be sure to rise off critters living in this seaweed.

Phylum: Rhodophyta (Red Algae)
Previous names:
Similar species: Porphyra abbottae, Porphyra torta, Porphyra nereocystis, Porphyra perforata, Porphyra laciniata, Porphyra pseudolinearis, Porphyra kurogii, Porphyra fuciola, Porphyra cuneiformis. Several similar species. Some of the blades are round, others are long and narrow. All are edible. It is also similar to the edible Smithora naiadum that grows on eel grass.

Sea Cauliflower

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Lethesia difformis

Sea CauliflowerLeathesia Difformis

Color: Brown (Golden)
Shape: Pod-like
Texture: Bumpy
Size: Up to 6”
Zone: Intertidal
Range: Alaska to Mexico

Description: This seaweed looks like small yellow-brown brains growing on the rocks or on other seaweeds. The interior is hollow. Sea Cauliflower tends to grow in clusters.

Edibility:

Distinctive characteristics: Disentegrates into filaments when squeezed.

Collection notes:

Phylum: Phaeophyta (Brown Algae)
Previous names: Tremella difformis
Similar species: Soranthera ulvoidea and Colpomenia bullosus when young.

Rainbow-leaf, Splendid Iridescent Seaweed

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Mazzaella splendens

Rainbow-LeafRainbow-Leaf in Flowing WaterPhoto Showing Iridescence of Rainbow-LeafExtreme Close Up of Rainbow-Leaf's Smooth SurfaceRainbow-Leaf's Rubbery Texture

Color: Red (Purpleish, Iridescent)
Shape: Sheet
Texture: Smooth
Size: Up to 3’+
Zone: Intertidal to Subtidal
Range: Alaska to Mexico

Description: This seaweed appears sheet-like but is an irregular blade attached to a very short, small stipe and holdfast. It is distinguished by its iridescent sheen when wet.

Edibility: Edible

Distinctive characteristics: Used to make carrageen

Collection notes:

Phylum: Rhodophyta (Red Algae)
Previous names: Iridaea cordata, Iridae splendens, Gigartina cordata, Iridophhycus splendens, Iridophycus cordatum, Iridophycus fulgens
Similar species: Several similar species including Mazzaella linearis and Mazzaella cornucopiae

Green Tuft, Green Ball

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Cladophora columbiana

Green TuftGreen Tuft Clumping Under a Large Rock

Color: Green (Bright)
Shape: Carpet-like
Texture: Furry
Size: 2”
Zone: Upper Intertidal
Range: Alaska to Mexico

Description: This short furry-looking seaweed grows in clumps on rocks in the upper intertidal zone and looks similar to moss.

Edibility:

Distinctive characteristics:

Collection notes:

Phylum: Chlorophyta (Green Algae)
Previous names:
Cladophora trichotoma, Cladophora hemisphaerica
Similar species:

Red Spaghetti

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Gracilariopsis sjoestedtii

Red Spaghetti in the WaterRed Spaghetti Close UpRed Spaghetti with Green String Lettuce

Color: Red
Shape: Branching, Tube-like
Texture: Smooth
Size: Up to 3’
Zone: Intertidal
Range: British Columbia to Mexico

Description: Small, disc-shaped holdfast with round, noodle-like branches. Grows attached to small rocks or buried in the sand.

Edibility: Edible

Distinctive characteristics: Used to make agar agar.

Collection notes:

Phylum: Rhodophyta (Red Algae)
Previous names: Gracilaria sjoestedtii
Similar species: Gracilariopsis lemaneiformis Gracilaria verrucosa, Gracilaria pacifica, Neoagardhiella baileyi

Turkish Washcloth

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Mastocarpus papillatus

Turkish Washcloth on Rocky BeachTurkish WashclothTurkish Washcloth Close Up

Color: Brown (Yellowish, Reddish, Black when Dry)
Shape: Irregular Blade
Texture: Bumpy
Size: Up to 6”
Zone: Intertidal
Range: Alaska to Mexico

Description: Short, upright irregular blades that are rubbery and covered with small bumps. The ruffly blades taper to a small stipe and holdfast.

Edibility: Used to make carrageenan. Can be boiled to make a gel-like thickener at home as well.

Distinctive characteristics: Forms a black tar-like “crust” on rocks during one phase of its lifecycle.

Collection notes:

Phylum: Rhodophyta (Red Algae)
Previous names: Gigartina papillata, Gigartina sitchensis, Petrocelis franciscana, Petrocelis middendorffii, Gigartina mamillosa, Gigartina dichomta, Gigartina cristata
Similar species: Chondracanthus exasperatus (Turkish Towel)

Feather Boa

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Egregia menziesii

Color: Brown (Olive)
Shape: Branching, Bushy
Texture: Bumpy
Size: Up to 30’+
Zone: Low Intertidal to Subtidal
Range: British Columbia to Mexico

Description: This flamboyant seaweed consists of a thick midrib, fringed with small irregular blades on either side that are interspersed with round floats. Feather Boa has a large, branching holdfast and a stipe that is round at the holdfast, then branches and broadens to be an inch or two wide. Feather Boa can grow quite long.

Edibility:

Distinctive characteristics:

Collection notes:

Phylum: Phaeophyta (Brown Algae)
Previous names: Fucus menziesii
Similar species:

Sarcodiotheca gaudichaudii

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Sarcodiotheca gaudichaudii

Sarcodiotheca gaudichaudii at low tideSarcodiotheca gaudichaudiiSarcodiotheca gaudichaudii

Color: Red
Shape: Branched
Texture: Bumpy, Bushy
Size: Up to 1’+
Zone: Intertidal to Subtidal
Range: Alaska to Mexico

Description: This bright red seaweed can look tree-shaped, with longer branches at the bottom tapering to shorter branches at the top, around a central axis. It has a disc-shaped holdfast and a warty texture.

Edibility:

Distinctive characteristics:

Collection notes:

Phylum: Rhodophyta (Red Algae)
Previous names: Neoagardhiella baileyi, Agardhiella tenera
Similar species: Gracilariopsis sjoestedtii (Red Spaghetti)

Bleach Weed

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Prionitis lanceolata

Color: Red (Purple)
Shape: Branching
Texture: Smooth
Size: 10–15”
Zone: Intertidal
Range: Alaska to Mexico

Description: Bleach weed is narrow at the base, then branches into flat blades, fringed irregularly with small blade-lets that seem to be attached at an angle with the main blade rather than flush. The holdfast is disc-shaped.

Edibility:

Distinctive characteristics: Smells like bromine.

Collection notes:

Phylum: Rhodophyta (Red Algae)
Previous names: Gelidium lanceolatum, Zanardinula lanceolata
Similar species: