To conclude the series on some of the plants of Japan, I thought I’d feature something from one of the groups of plants infrequently featured on BPotD, the algae. Today’s photographic subject has undergone some processing for food purposes; in its wild form, it would look more like this: Porphyra yezoensis. Here, however, it’s been washed, dried, shredded, and roasted, all to create the consumable nori.
As a sea crop, nori, or laver, is valued at an estimated 1 billion USD globally, with a worldwide production of around 600 000 tonnes. By comparison, sugar cane production is around 1.75 billion tonnes (~3000x the production by mass). As nori contains high amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals (e.g., for vitamin C, ~95mg/100g of nori vs. ~53mg/100g of oranges), perhaps that production ratio will slowly shift in favour of nori. Despite what may seem like small amounts of production globally, nori is the most widely-consumed algae in the world. The Seaweed Site contains extensive information about nori cultivation, as does the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Porphyra spp..