Eucheuma cottonii & Eucheuma spinosum

Hello Botany Photo of the Day readers. In Daniel’s absence we will attempt to deliver the BPotD at the high level and consistency that has been its hallmark. I am especially grateful to Daniel, as he has taught me much about IT and photography. That said, please bear with me and the crew as we take over the task.

Ingrid Hoff, Horticultural Manager at UBCBG wrote today’s entry.

Tourism is the number one industry in Bali, Indonesia. But not so on the tiny Balinese island of Nusa Lembongan. On Nusa Lembongan it’s all about seaweed.

The villagers on this small island off the eastern coast of Bali make their living farming two species of seaweed, Eucheuma spinosum and more commonly Eucheuma cottonii. These seaweeds grow on submerged strings that are stretched between bamboo poles in the shallow, warm, nutrient rich waters. These aquatic fields give the ocean surrounding the island a “patchwork quilt” look.

New growth can be gathered every 45 days, so there is almost always a harvest going on. Villagers wade out into the shallows and fill their boats (or sometimes large baskets) with the seaweed. Back on the beach it is laid out on tarps to dry in the sun and eventually shipped around the world to be used as a thickening ingredient (carrageenan) for use in food (ice cream, diet products etc.) and cosmetics (lotions, shampoo, etc.).

Michael Guiry has an informative write-up on carrageenan on his seaweed site.

Eucheuma spp.
Eucheuma spp.

27 responses to “Eucheuma cottonii & Eucheuma spinosum”

  1. Ryan Kitko

    This is a wonderful BPotD entry; thanks for sharing! If it weren’t for those seaweed species, I wouldn’t be able to find yogurt sans gelatin. It’s nice to know where the carrageenan comes from.

  2. Connie

    Thank you! I am so glad to see this.

  3. Jenn

    Thank you for contributing. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

  4. Sue

    Thank you for helping us combat BPotD withdrawls! 🙂

  5. Julie

    Thank you! Fantastic photos. There is a seaweed harvesting enterprise in the waters off Vancouver Island. I doubt it is as “sophisticated” as this. I believe the harvested seaweed is used primarily for a local natural cosmetics business. Looking forward to your future postings.

  6. Elizabeth Heinz

    Hurray! Thanks for keeping our daily fix going. This is a fascinating entry.

  7. Eric Simpson

    There used to be a kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) harvesting industry off of Southern California. Don’t remember exactly when it stopped, but I know it’s been a couple decades since I’ve seen the harvester ships.

  8. Island Jim

    Great photographs. I’m booking passage tomorrow.

  9. Katie Teed

    Excellent post Ingrid – as a small child in grade 5 I did a science project on carrageenan and was surprised at all of the products it is in. Everything from toothpaste to some beer!

  10. Robin

    Thanks, Ingrid, for keeping us going!

  11. Barbara Lamb

    Thank you Ingrid!

  12. EJ

    Every day I learn something new here.
    Thank you all for great pictures and interesting writing!

  13. Brent

    An interest in things Japanese has broadened my taste for seaweed! As in many Asian countries, various species and types are massively harvested for food and other health benefits. It’s a wonder with the seaweed diversity of the Pacific Northwest that they aren’t harvested more here, that I’m aware of.

  14. Annie Morgan

    Thank you ever so much for keeping things going. I so enjoy the daily photo and its accompanying explanation. Today’s was particularly interesting as I didn’t know all that stuff.
    Are we allowed to know where Daniel has absented himself to?

  15. Lanie

    I knew you folks would find a way to keep the site going. I know you will do a great job. I knew seaweed was used in a ton of every day things. I have not eaten it as itself. thanks to Andrew Zimeran’s Bazare Foods I am now very much wanting to try it. looking forward to your future posts.

  16. Sheila

    Thank you. Fascinating.

  17. John Murtaugh

    It’s wonderful to this site up and running again.
    I especially enjoy entries on unusual ( for me) food plants.
    There is so much to be learned and your site does such a great effort. It is much appreciated.

  18. marjorie lacy

    Hello, glad this site is still up and running. Thank you.
    They serve crispy seaweed here in the North of England in Chineese Restaurants, but it is in fact, deep fried dark cabbage, sprinkled with powedered ginger.
    I do know that seaweed is harvested round the coast of the U.K., in various places.

  19. George Vaughan

    I came here some time back (my memory is not quite what it used to be)because someone told me that there were some beautiful flowers on here. I thought to myself, that I would love to have those beautiful flower pictures in my screen saver, so I came. Of course I have downloaded almost all of the pics since joining, and have quite a large folder of beautiful pics courtesy of BPotD. But guess what? I have learned so much about not only the flowers but all of botany. Thanks ever so much for continuing on Daniel’s tradition of showing us beauty from nature and telling us about it as well. Thank you all so very much. I can only wish you continued success.

  20. elizabeth a airhart

    here is another thank you
    the pictures are so sharp and clear
    the write up is a big help
    eric did you know jim clark
    from selby gardens is out
    in the the soloman islands
    looking for gesneriads
    selby gardens florida that is

  21. Elizabeth Gordon-Mills

    To a former phycologist and carrageenophile, it was good to see a seaweed species displayed.

  22. Melissa

    So glad you and your crew at UBC Botanical Garden will be holding down the fort. A wonderful beginning! Great photos and write-up. Thanks!
    In culinary school, we intensively studied all the seaweeds used in food, both as thickening agents & in Asian and/or Fusion Cuisine, etc., etc.
    Now, how about the seaweed from north of Ireland? Anybody? Marjorie probably knows this one.

  23. Gabrielle

    I am so happy you are keeping up Botany Photo of the Day, thank you! A beautiful and interesting entry. Here on the East Coast, there is also seaweed harvesting, mostly in Maine.

  24. julian abbiati

    cool as !!

  25. rainymountain

    Yay, the daily stimulation of the wonders of plants continues – Thanks.

  26. Ong

    Dear sir ,
    May I know what is the diffrent between
    Eucheuma cottonii & spinosum ?
    Are they both carry different nutrients ingredients ?
    Which one is good for body detoxification ?
    Ms Ong

  27. abraham

    i’m also a planters of eucheuma spinosum(green and brown) in caluya, philippines.. searching for innovation on to become more productive planters. harvesting 300 kls a month

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