Porphyra is a genus of seaweeds, and it grows in cold, shallow seawater.
It’s special because it’s a type of red algae, and it’s one of the laver species. In simple terms, it’s a sort of seaweed that grows in the cold parts of the ocean.
Porphyra loves growing in the zone between where the tide comes in and where the seawater splashes up on the shore.
There are around 60 to 70 types of Porphyra in the whole world, and seven of them are found around Britain and Ireland.
What Is the Life Cycle of Porphyra?
Porphyra has a pretty cool life cycle. It can reproduce both sexually and asexually.
When it reproduces asexually, it forms spores that grow to be just like the original plant.
When it reproduces sexually, both male and female parts are formed on the same plant. The female part gets fertilized by the male part, which is not able to move.
This fertilized part, now with double the genetic material, forms spores that settle and bore into shells. They then grow and form a filamentous stage.
How Is Porphyra Used as Food?
Lots of cultures that have access to Porphyra use it as food. It’s probably the most domesticated of the marine algae. You might have heard it being called different names like laver, nori, or gim.
Nori is used in Japan to make sushi, and gim is used in Korea.
In Japan, the yearly production of Porphyra is valued at 100 billion Yen, which is about $1 billion US.
It’s also harvested from the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland, where it’s used in a variety of dishes like laverbread.
What Is the Nutrient Content of Porphyra?
Porphyra contains vitamin B12, which is an essential vitamin for our body. One study suggests it’s the most suitable non-meat source of this vitamin.
However, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics doesn’t agree fully, saying it may not provide enough for vegans.
How Does Porphyra Look and Grow?
Porphyra has a leaf-like body called a thallus, which is one or two cells thick and can range in size from a few millimeters to over 3 meters in length.
It can have different shapes from round to linear, with smooth, toothed, or ruffled edges depending on the species.
Each cell of Porphyra has one or two star-shaped chloroplasts with a big central pyrenoid, which is part of a cell where starch is made.
How Does Porphyra Reproduce?
Porphyra can reproduce both asexually and sexually. When it reproduces asexually, it forms archeospores, agamospores, or neutral spores. These spores grow to become new blades.
Some spores can also grow to become haploid conchocelis, which is the filamentous stage of Porphyra.
When Porphyra reproduces sexually, it can either be monoecious, dioecious, or androdioecious, which means it can have both male and female parts, or each part can be on a different plant.
Where Is Porphyra Found?
Porphyra is found all over the world, from the high tide zone to the shallow subtidal. It’s widely distributed in temperate waters, polar and tropical seas.
The most diverse types of Porphyra are found in the North Pacific. It’s also found in the Irish Sea coast where it has been traditionally used to produce edible sea vegetables.
You can check out what this plant looks like over here.
|Maximum Size:||12 in (30.5 cm)|