“Plant” of the day: rockweed

Lacy mounds of flat, greenish-brown leaves stand out in the cacophony of intertidal life. This is rockweed (Fucus gardneri), another brown alga that is widespread from Alaska to California. The mature tips  puff up and act as a float–and as the nursery where sperm and eggs develop before being released to find one another in the water. These tips are edible, and were called “Indian popcorn” by settler because local tribes liked to eat them dried. Other sources recommend eating them young (either fresh or blanched); but always in moderation.

Other names for rockweed include bladderwrack and popweed.  It has several lookalikes (F. spiralis, Hesperophycus californicus and Pelvetiopsis limitata), but rockweed can be identified by the central midrib running down each hairless, mitten-shaped leaf.

Leave a comment

Filed under Edible, Plant of the day

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s