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Sunday 27 March 2011

Seashore plants and seaweeds

This time we went for a quick look to see what vegetation and seaweeds are about. I've been told there are roughly 600 varieties of seaweed around our coasts but some are so uncommon that they are known only by their latin names, so we have tried to pick a few of the more recognisable ones that you are likely to find on a day out. As a matter of fact there are so many different types on this particular shoreline that we intend to do this again in late summer or autumn and post up a few more varieites then..

Alexanders, this is an edible plant. Although to be honest I would steer you away from all umbilifers as the chance of making a mistake could result in the loss of your life, so unless you are 1000% sure, remember the adage, "if in doubt, leave it out".

Bladder wrack ( fucus vesiculosus)..This is also edible, but contains high amounts of iodine so beware! As you would expect, it also has great medicinal properties too.

Toothed wrack, (fucus serratus) edible, but certainly not one of my favourites, again some medicinal properties in this wrack. (PS, it's NOT a kelp!)

Carragheen or Irish moss (chondus crispus) edible, a relatively common seaweed on our shores, used as a thickener in soups ,stews and of course blancmange.

Sugar kelp (Laminaria saccharina) {the long wavy one in the picture}, very edible, deep fry for crisps, or I prefer it simply dry and chopped up, one of the worlds most commercially important seaweeds.

Witches hair -{you can see why it's so called} (desmarestia aculeata) INEDIBLE ! I was surprised to find this specimen, although it was washed up dead and in poor condition, one of the very few seaweeds we can't eat due to the high proportion of sulphuric acid it contains.

A great day out, and we really should spend more time on the shore, it's a completely different world with a completely different type of knowledge needed, bushcraft isn't all about the woods!


  1. Memories. Thank you.

  2. Thanks a lot! I live way inland, but one never knows...

  3. great post Phil, your sure are the king of the shoreline foragers mate!