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  • Tanya Stiller

Seaweed Classification

Updated: Apr 2, 2019

Brown Algae (Phaeophyta)

Commonly called Kelp. Generally brownish to olive green in color. They contain algin and abundant minerals. These are the largest algae and some of the most common ones harvested for food. They include:

  • Bladderwrack (Fucus spp.),

  • Kombu (Laminaria spp.),

  • Wakame(Alaria spp.),

  • Sea Palm (Postelia Palmaeformis),

  • Sargassum,

  • Feather Boa (Egregia spp.), and

  • Cystoseira.

Red Algae (Rhodaphyta)

These can be anywhere from brownish to red to greenish, often having a reddish hue, but hey can sometimes be confused with the green and brown algae. This is the largest group found along the California Coast. They include:

  • Dulse (Palmaria Palmatus),

  • Irish Moss (Chrondrus crispus),

  • Nori (Porphyra spp.),

  • Iridaea ssp. (Mazzaella spp.),

  • Grapestone or Turkish Towel (Gigartina spp.),

  • Chodrancanthus spp. and

  • Mastocarpus spp. and

  • Dumontia, Prionitis spp.,

just to name a few of the 4000 species of read algae.


They contain carrageenan and agar, which are complex polysaccarides that form gels. These gels have many different applications as thickening and emulsifying agents in food, pharmaceauticals, cosmetics and as the medium in petri dishes.


Green Algae (Chlorophyta)

These are usually green in color, though Codium is olive-green. They include Sea Lettuce (Ulva sp.) and Codium. They do not store as well as the red and brown algae, but are easy to eat fresh. Many green algae are from fresh water sources. There is also a green tide, when the waters become overly nitrogen rich, possibly from sewage runoff, which causes an over abundance of the ulva and other green


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