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Algae, Pacific Northwest

Wireweed, BC Coastal Region
Wireweed, Photo By Bud Logan

Wireweed is also known as Japweed. This underwater plant can grow to heights of 2 meters, you can find it growing from Alaska to California and it grows abundantly on all parts of the BC coast.

Wireweed attaches itself to rocks or other anchors from low inter-tidal waters down to depths of up to 6 meters. The plant is normally a yellowish brown color and has a short stalk that branches many times with flat leaf like growths growing at all parts of the stalk that contain all the reproductive components of the plant. This is an invasive plant that first came here from Japan on oyster spat. This plant now grows all over our coast.

In the northern and southern ends of its Pacific Coastal range,  it only grows down to about 2 m depth.  In southern California, however, it is abundant to 8 m depth and has been found at depths up to 24 m. It grows on rocks, floating docks, oyster shells, slipper shells, sea squirts and a variety of seaweeds, and is often found in conspicuous stands. It is usually restricted to sheltered waters, but on the Pacific Coast it occurs on the open coast, thriving in the wave tossed tidal zone.

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