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

Studded Sea Balloons

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Soranthera ulvoidea

Soranthera Ulvoidea (Studded Sea Balloons)Studded Sea Balloons

Color: Brown
Shape: Pod-like, hollow or filled with liquid
Texture: Bumpy
Size: 2–6”
Zone: Intertidal
Range: Alaska to California

Description: Branching stipe connected to a small holdfast. Bushy or shaggy-looking branches alternating with bumpy brown to olive balloon-like sacs of 1–2”.

Edibility:

Distinctive characteristics: An epiphyte — grows on species of red algae.

Collection notes:

Phylum: Phaeophta (Brown Algae)
Previous names:
Similar species: Can be confused with Sea Cauliflower, Leathesia difformis, when young

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.

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)

Rockweed, Bladderwrack, Popweed

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Fucus gardneri

Fucus Close UpFucus on RockStrip of Fucus Above a Strip of Sea LettuceMass of Fucus Covering a Large Area of RocksFucus

Color: Brown (Yellowish to Olive)
Shape: Branching, Pod-like
Texture: Bumpy
Size: Up to 2’
Zone: Intertidal
Range: Alaska to California

Description: This abundant seaweed is distinguished by the mitten-shaped hollow liquid or gas-filled pods at the ends of mature branches. The pods have a bumpy exterior. Rockweed has a disc shaped holdfast and half-inch blades with a midrib that branch off two by two. Young branches may appear flat and without the pods on the ends. Rockweed prefers rocky terrain.

Edibility: Young tips are tasty fresh or blanched. Can also be dried. Eat in moderation.

Distinctive characteristics: If you squeeze the mature pods, they will make a popping sound.

Collection notes:

Phylum: Phaeophyta (Brown Algae)
Previous names: Fucus distichus, Fucus evanescens
Similar species: Fucus spiralis, Pelvetiopsis limitata (Dwarf Rockweed)

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)