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.

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

Bull Kelp, Bullwhip Kelp

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Nereocyctis luetkeana

Color: Brown (Golden or Dark)
Shape: Branching, Tube-like
Texture: Smooth
Size: Up to 100’+
Zone: Subtidal
Range: Alaska to California

Description: This large seaweed begins with a large, branching holdfast supporting a long, hollow stipe that starts narrow and widens at the top, ending in a tennis-ball shaped float. Attached to the float are long, flat blades a few inches wide and up to 30 feet long. The blades are arranged in two groups like pig-tails and tend to trail on the surface of the water.

Edibility: Delicious! The stipe makes tasty pickles. Blades taste salty, but the flavor comes from the high potassium content. Blades are delicate when dried.

Distinctive characteristics: The floats are filled with gas, including the toxic carbon monoxide.

Collection notes: Boat required.

Phylum: Phaeophyta (Brown Algae)
Previous names: Fucus luetkeanus
Similar species: Durvillaea antartica