Algae, Pacific Northwest
Pacific Rockweed grows all over the Pacific Northwest Coast, you can find rockweed growing from Northern BC to Northern California. It is a very common plant on the shores of the Pacific Northwest.
You can find growing on inter tidal rocky outcrops and on big rock shores. Pacific Rockweed is a light tan olive color with erect and compact growths with flat stems that branch 2 or more times.
The puffed up ends of this plant contain all the reproductive properties. Pacific Rockweed is commonly seen in the riffraff that washes up on shore.
Pacific Rockweed is a brown alga, as its color indicates. The plants can grow to 30 cm long; they grow during the summer months, filling the inter-tidal zone. Waves break them loose and they become a major part of the beach riffraff.
One reason rockweed is so abundant is that it is chemically protected from many predators. It produces chemicals called phenol’s that make it indigestible because the chemicals will stop the digestive enzymes of grazing animals from processing it. The periwinkles, limpets, and isopods are all able to utilizes this plant as food though. People eat it as well, especially when herring spawn on it.