Pacific Rockweed

Pacific Rockweed, Vancouver Island, BC
Pacific Rockweed, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Bud Logan

Pacific Rockweed grows all over the BC coastal region, 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 intertidal 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. This plant is commonly seen in the riffraff that washes up onshore.

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 utilize this plant as food though. People eat it as well, especially when herring spawn on it.

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