Sugar Kelp

Sugar Kelp, Vancouver Island, BC
Sugar Kelp, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Bud Logan

Sugar kelp is a large brown algae species that can grow to lengths over 2 meters. The kelp has three components, the blade, the stalk, (stipe), and the anchor, (holdfast) which is used to attach the kelp to a hard substrate like a piling, wharf, or rock.

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This kelp is usually a dark brown color with a rippled appearance that makes it look like a lasagna noodle. It also has dimples, along the length of its blade on each side. When it dries, a sugary white deposit forms on the kelp’s surface, which is how it got the name. It is not sweet though.

It is a cold water species common off the coast of BC and can be found from Alaska to California. Did you know that if you hang a piece of sugar kelp in your home, it can tell you the weather outlook, it will turn soft when a low-pressure system is moving in with clouds and rain and will turn brittle when a high-pressure system with blue skies is moving in?

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