Sargassum, Wireweed

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.

Feather Boa

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:

Witch’s Hair, Acid Kelp

Desmarestia aculeata

Color: Brown
Shape: Branched, Bushy
Texture: Smooth
Size: Up to 3’+
Zone: Low Intertidal to Subtidal
Range: Alaska to Oregon

Description: This highly branching seaweed is connected to a small, disc-shaped holdfast. The many thin, round branches give it a busy appearance.

Edibility: Do not eat.

Distinctive characteristics: Releases sulfuric acid when damaged.

Collection notes: Best to avoid. The acid released by this seaweed will destroy other seaweeds collected if left in the same container.

Phylum: Phaeophyta (Brown Algae)
Previous names: Fucus aculeatus, Desmarestia intermedia
Similar species: Desmarestia viridis

Sarcodiotheca gaudichaudii

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)