Saccharina latissima (Sugar kelp)
Saccharina bongardiana (Split kelp)*
Copyright © 2007 Jan Holmes
These two annual brown seaweed species are quite similar and can only be positively identified to species level by examining the interior of the stipe (older plants of S. bongardiana have empty spaces between their stipe cells). Both species have haptera type holdfasts and stipes that can reach 50 to 60 cm (20 to 24 inches). Both have a single ribless blade that may be smooth or have two rows of puckers (bullations) running lengthwise. Blades of both species can reach lengths of over 2 meters (6 feet). Some authors describe S. bongardiana as much darker with a very wide blade that is often split deeply into several sections, while S lattissima is lighter, narrower, longer and more likely to be found intact except for older plants which can be split or torn. They are both found in the lower intertidal to subtidal with S. bongardiana preferring more exposed locations (but both species have been found growing in the same location).
* There is ongoing taxonomic debate over the relationships between S. latissima, S. bongardiana and Laminaria groenlandica a species originally from Greenland.
page was created by Jan Holmes on 1/6/07.