Sugar Kelp, Kombu, Sugar Wrack

Laminaria saccharina

Sugar Kelp Showing Holdfast and PuckersSugar Kelp on a Rock at Low TideSugar Kelp on the Beach with Sea LettuceSugar Kelp Close UpSugar Kelp

Color: Brown
Shape: Blade
Texture: Smooth with Puckers
Size: Up to 6′
Zone: Lower intertidal to subtidal, semi-protected areas, rocky areas
Range: Alaska, British Columbia, Oregon, California

Description: Wide blade with a 5–20” round stipe connected to root-like, branching holdfast. Blade may be smooth in the center and on the edges. Indentations tend to look like two rows. Blade may be torn or studded with blotchy coral encrustations.

Edibility: Delicious! Can be eaten many ways. Rich in iodine, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals.

Distinctive characteristics:

Collection notes: Use scissors to cut the upper blade and leave the rest to keep growing.

Phylum: Phaeophyta (Brown Algae)
Previous names: Fucus saccharinus
Similar species: Other Laminaria species

Wakame, Strap Kelp, Winged Kelp, Honey Ware

Alaria marginata

Color: Brown (Carmel to Olive Green)
Shape: Blade
Texture: Smooth
Size: 2’–6’+
Zone: Low intertidal to subtidal
Range: Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California

Description: Large, thin blade with flat midrib, May be torn on edges or ends or appear ruffly. Stipe up to 24” long, often with groups of leaf-like sophorophls on each side (“wings”). Branched, root-like holdfast.

Edibility: Delicious! Great in miso and other soups. Use as a vegetable. High in calcium and other vitamins and minerals.

Distinctive characteristics: Center rib. “Wings” (groups of leaf-like sophorophls on each side of the stipe.) One of many Alaria species that look similar. All are edible.

Collection notes: Use scissors to cut off upper part of blade. Leave the leafy “wings” as these are the reproductive parts of the seaweed that will produce next years’ seaweed.

Phylum: Phaeophyta (Brown Algae)
Previous names:
Similar species: Other Alaria species, Laminaria species

Split Kelp

Laminaria bongardiana

Split Kelp With Tattered EndsSplit Kelp Close UpSplit Kelp Detail

Color: Brown (Dark)
Shape: Blade
Texture: Smooth
Size: Up to 6’
Zone: Intertidal to Subtidal
Range: Alaska to California

Description: Branched holdfast, long stipe of up to 2’. The broad, smooth blade is split into several sections.

Edibility: Edible

Distinctive characteristics:

Collection notes: Cut above the holdfast to encourage regrowth.

Phylum: Phaeophyta (Brown Algae)
Previous names: Laminaria groenlandica
Similar species: Can be hard to tell apart from Laminaria saccharina.