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Kelp

Kelp are
Kelp Herb
large seaweeds, belonging to the brown algae and classified in the order Laminariales. Despite their appearance they are not grouped with the normal aquatic or land plants (kingdom Plantae), but instead are included in either kingdom Protista or Chromista. There are about 30 different genera; sometimes members of the order Fucales are also considered kelp. Kelp grows in underwater forests (kelp forests) in clear, shallow, oceans, requiring nutrient rich water below about 20C, it offers a protection to some sea creatures, or food for others. It is known for its high growth rate - the genus Macrocystis grows up to 30 cm per day, to a total length of over 60 metres.

Morphology
Kelp grows in the form of long stalks, with leaflike blades at regular intervals. Each blade is supported by a float. For more on its morphology, see seaweeds.

Prominent species
bull-head kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana), a northwestern American species. Used by coastal indigenous peoples to create fishing nets.
giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera), the largest seaweed. Found in the Pacific coast of North America.
kombu (Laminaria japonica), an edible species of kelp found in
Kelp Herb
Japan.

Uses
Kelp ash is calcined and rich in iodine and alkali. In great amount, kelp ash can be used in soap and glass production. Alginate, a kelp-derived carbohydrate, is used to thicken products like ice cream, jelly, salad dressing, and toothpaste, as well as in manufactured goods.

Interactions
Some animals are named after the kelp, either because they inhabit the same habitat as kelp or because they feed on kelp.

Kelp crab (Pugettia producta), the Pacific coast of North America.
Kelpfish (blenny) (e.g., Heterosticbus rostratus, genus Gibbonsia), the Pacific coast of North America.
Kelp Goose (kelp hen) (Ocydromus fuscus), South America and the Falkland Islands
kelp pigeon (sheathbill) (Chionis sp), Antarctic


Other useful herb information: Muira Puama | Spirulina | Reishi Mushroom | Salvia | Mugwort | Slippery Elm | Bupleurum

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