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Mastocarpus papillatus (Turkish washcloth, tar spot)

photo of turkish washcloth
Copyright © 2007 Jan Holmes

Turkish washcloth is the most often encountered red seaweed in the mid to lower intertidal in our area.  The sporophyte phase looks like patches of dried tar, while the gametophyte phase consists of very dark purple-red deeply divided curled blades.  The spore producing tar spot phase is a slow growing, long lived perennial (one source estimates up to 90 years).  It gives rise each year to the bladed gametophyte phase.  Male and female gametophytes are produced on separate plants.  The female plants are covered with papillae - short nipple-like outgrowths which are the sites of fertilization.  The bladed phase dies back every year leaving just the encrusting "tar spot".

This page was created by Jan Holmes on 1/21/07

 

 

photo of Turkish washcloth

 

photo of Turkish washcloth