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.

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.

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

Red Cellophane

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Porphyra cuneiformis

Red Cellophane and Holdfast at Low TideTransparent Red CellophaneRed Cellophane

Color: Red
Shape: Sheet
Texture: Smooth (Silky)
Size: Up to 6”+
Zone: Intertidal to Subtidal
Range: Alaska to California

Description: Similar to Nori, this seaweed is sheet-like with a tiny holdfast. It may appear ruffly and grow in clusters. It is very thin and the texture is smooth and silky.

Edibility: Edible

Distinctive characteristics:

Collection notes:

Phylum: Rhodophyta (Red Algae)
Previous names: Porphyra miniata forma cuneiformis, Porphyra miniata var. cuneiformis

Similar species: Porphyra abyssicola, Porphyra amplissima, Porphyra miniata, Porphyra tenuissima, Porphyra perforata, Porphyra abbottae