The Many Faces of Sea Lettuce

10045945-banner Fish & seaweed dish by Chef Joe Baugh, Jersey UK.

Sea Lettuce is common around the world and grows well in many different climates.

It has many faces meaning that  it grows naturally in a variety of shapes (ribbons, tuffs or sheets) , can be flat or ruffled, fairly thick or translucent, in a range of shades (from pale yellow to very bright or dark green)  and textures, going from tissue-like to 'waxy'. But all these different species are grouped under the family name 'Ulva', a latin name for 'marsh plant'. Physiologically, it is the closest seaweed to land plants.

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Sea Lettuce grows in calm waters, quiet bays, salt marshes as well as rocky areas near the shore. It is commonly found on intertidal rocks, in tide pools, on reef flats, growing on shells, other seaweed or free floating. It often favours areas of fresh water runoff that are rich in nutrients (particularly nitrogen), where it grows prolifically and can become invasive & smelly as it decomposes. Sea lettuce grows prolifically around Tauranga Harbour but we are not allowed to harvest it commercially.

Also called green laver or green nori because of its similarity to nori in texture (Karengo, in NZ) but has a distinctive aroma and taste. It has been consumed as a food all over the world for a long time.

In beauty, Sea lettuce is said to reduce inflammation, tone the skin, promote collagen & elastin formation and repair. Hydrating & nourihing, it is said to increase skin vitality & brightness.

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