Tag Archives: sea lettuce

Plant of the day: sea lettuce

Small succulents with pointy, gray-dusted leaves cling to a rocky bluff above the ocean. This is sea lettuce, or Dudleya farinosa. Also known as powdery dudleya, its leaves can be green or a floured grayish color and often are tinted with red. The blooming flower stalks are also red, while the flowers are a bright yellow.

Various other species of Dudleya were regularly eaten raw by indigenous Californians–but so far I haven’t found any specific references about the edibility of  D. farinosa

Sea lettuce is one of the north coast’s few succulent species.  Dudleya and Sedum are the two main succulent genera around here; Dudleya species are distinguished by generally being unbranched, and by having tubular flowers and larger leaves (<3cm).

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Plant of the day: sea lettuce

Sea lettuce looks exactly like its name: ruffled, brilliant green leaves that grow in tufts from shallow rocks. It’s usually found in calm waters. There are many species of sea lettuce in the Ulva genus, and as of right now I have no idea how to tell them apart–but from what I’ve read, that’s because they are all quite similar in looks and habit.

Sea lettuce is a green alga, and is edible though sometimes a little tough and bland. Some enjoy it for salads. One warning if you are planning to eat some Ulva is that it grows particularly profusely in water that’s been “enriched” by sewage or other pollution. So if you see a dense patch of the stuff, take a close & skeptical look at the nearby landscape before you harvest it…

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