Sea Spaghetti (Himanthalia elongata)
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Phylum : Heterokontophyta
Class : Paheophyceae
Order : Fucales
Family : Himanthaliaceae
Genus : Himanthalia
Species : Himanthalia elongata (Linnaeus) S.F. Gray
Common Names : Sea Spaghetti, Spaghetti de Mer, Thongweed, Buttonweed, Sea Haricots, Haricots de Mer, Sea Thong.
Sea Spaghetti – Himanthalia elongata – is a brown seaweed / algae from the lower shore. It is found on the European side of the Atlantic Ocean, from the Baltic Sea , through the North Sea and as far south as Portugal.
Sea Spaghetti – Himanthalia elongata – starts off its life as a “button” – a small flattened or saucer shaped disc, that can be up to 3 cm wide on a stalk. The fronds of Sea Spaghetti – Himanthalia elongata – grow from the centre of the this “button”. The fronds are initially yellow in colour but darken down to a green brown as the plant ages. The fronds pair off into strap like branches and these can reach up to 3m in length, but are mainly 1m to 2m long.
It is not to be confused with Chorda filum – bootlace weed.
History and Uses :
Traditionally Sea Spaghetti – Himanthalia elongata – was collected and burnt alongside kelp for the potash industry or used as a fertilizer.
Nowadays Sea Spaghetti – Himanthalia elongata – is harvested mainly as a sea vegetable – edible seaweed.
It lacks a strong sea taste, like some other seaweeds / sea vegetables but has a rather nutty flavour. It is often used in salads, or can be cooked separately and added to pasta, or used (mainly after being marinated in something alcoholic) in desserts.
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