Irish Wakame (Alaria esculenta)

Irish Wakame – Alaria escuenta

Irish Wakame Alaria esculenta Brown seaweed Black Head Co Clare (Photo copyright Prof Michael Guiry)
Irish Wakame Alaria esculenta Brown seaweed Black Head Co Clare (Photo copyright Prof Michael Guiry)

Scientific Classification
Phyllum : Heterokontophyta
Class : Phaeophyceae
Order : Laminariales
Family : Alariaceae
Genus : Alaria
Species : Alaria esculenta (Linnaeus) Greville
Common Names : Irish Wakame, Atlantic Wakame, Dabberlocks, Murlins, Winged Kelp and Honeyware
Irish : Láir, Láracha

Distribution :

Irish Wakame – Alaria esculenta – is a common brown seaweed / algae, a kelp, found on the exposed shores of Europe and North America, from Greenland, Iceland to France; and in Alaska, Labrador coast and Massachusetts.
It is found on the lower shore and also on rocky substrates.
It often is found among other lower shore seaweeds eg Laminaria digitata and Fucus serratus

Description :

Irish Wakame – Alaria esculenta – is a brown seaweed that can grow to 2m in length, though some have been recorded at 4m long.
It has a undivided frond that can vary in colour from golden to greenish-brown. It has a a short stipe and has a yellow / golden midrib.
It has distinctive fleshy flat reproductive “leaflets” growing sideways from the plant’s stipe.
These leaflets are called Sporophylls and, unlike other many other fucoids, they grow at the protected position at the base of the stipe.

History and Uses :

Irish Wakame – Alaria esculenta – is mainly used as a Sea Vegetable – edible seaweed. It has a slightly sweetish taste.
Like all sea vegetables it is easily digested and can be used extensively in cooking.
In Japan, it is Undaria pinnatifida that is known as Wakame and Alaria esculenta has a very similar taste to it, and they both belong to the same Family.
It is known for its low light limitations and by mid summer most of the plants have died back.
Prannie Rhatigan  has done extensive work with Irish Wakame – Alaria esculenta – and there are numerous recipes in her book “Irish Seaweed Kitchen – The Comprehensive Guide to Healthy Everyday Cooking With Seaweeds” (ISBN 978-1-906886-22-6)
Prannie’s book is available to buy from here
Some recipes are included on our Recipe Page