In Australia there is a tendency to call any Seaweed “kelp”.
This is reinforced by agricultural companies, meant to be experts in their field, who talk about kelp as if it is the only Seaweed in the world.
At Seaweed Enterprises Australia we don’t sell Kelp.
We sell Ascophyllum nodosum, and I’m going to explain to you the difference.
Across the world there are around 10,000 species of Seaweed.
These are broken into 3 groups – brown, red and green.
The largest group by far is Red, with about 6,500 species.
The Brown Seaweeds have around 1800 species - Ascophyllum nodosum and kelp belong to this group.
This is where the similarities end though.
Kelps are generally huge Seaweeds that grow in deeper water. In Tasmania there are “forests” of Bull Kelp, Durvillea potatorum, that are eco-systems in their own right, providing food and shelter for other marine life. Because these huge forests are protected the Tasmanian Seaweed industry relies on storms to break the kelp off and wash it up onto beaches where it is collected.
Ascophyllum is a smaller, softer Seaweed that grows on rocks in coastal zones between high and low tide. It grows in freezing waters below the Arctic Circle and is harvested in Norway, Scotland, Iceland and Canada.
Ascophyllum nodosum is the most studied Seaweed in the world, and is proven scientifically and in field trials to be the best, most effective Seaweed for agriculture.
Both kelp and Ascophyllum nodosum can be bought as a dry meal to supplement animals as well as sprayable products for crops.
There are a number of other species of Brown Seaweed that are used in agricultural products – Laminaria and Sargassum are two of the most common.
If you look at the label on the product though, you will find that these products also contain Ascophyllum nodosum. And that’s because, while the other Seaweeds are cheap, Ascophyllum nodosum is the one that really works.
That is why it’s the only one we sell.
One hundred percent pure Ascophyllum nodosum - the best Seaweed on the planet.
So next time you’re talking Seaweed with someone show them you know what you’re talking about.
If you want Tasmanian Durvillea potatorum ask for kelp, but if you want the Superior Seaweed make sure you ask for Ascophyllum nodosum.
Seaweed Enterprises Australia – we’ve been the Seaweed Experts since 1974.
Top photo, Ascophyllum nodosum - courtesy Algea of Norway.
Bottom photo, Tasmanian Bull Kelp - ABC photo.
Blog post by Liz