E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Scytosiphon lomentaria (Lyngbye) J. Agardh
soda straws

Introduction to the Algae

© Michael Stekoll  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #7916)

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Distribution of Scytosiphon lomentaria
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Ocean Biogeography Information System (global distribution)

Species Information

Family Description:
Macroscopic plants are tubular, saccate, or foliose. This phase represents the gameto-phyte, which bears only plurilocular reproductive structures. In some species, this phase alternates with a crustose phase that resembles Ralfsia and bears the unilocular reproductive structures. Such crusts are assumed to represent the sporophytic phase in the life history of such species. Cells contain only a single chloroplast, which contains a prominent pyrenoid.
Species description:
The conspicuous phase is olive brown to dark brown and forms erect, tubular clusters up to 50 cm (about 20 in) or more tall and 1 cm (0.4 in) or usually less wide arising from a discoidal holdfast. The tubes are unbranched, and within a clump at least a few of the larger ones will be constricted at intervals along their length. Soda Straws show diffuse growth; that is, growth occurs throughout the individual and is not restricted to a special meristematic region. It is a weedy species that can colonize and grow quickly in disturbed areas.

Soda Straws, like False Kelp, include a crustose phase that resembles the brown alga Ralfsia and (at least in Washington State) grows throughout the year. Also, like False Kelp, this species has a complex life cycle, which can vary depending on the population.

Soda Straws have been shown to have low caloric value (2.80 Calories per gram of dry weight). Like False Kelp, they lack both structural and chemical means to deter herbivores. Dennis Russell tells us that he dries Soda Straws and the adds them to soups.

Source: North Pacific Seaweeds

Habitat / Range

Bathymetry: mid or low interidal
World Distribution: Aleutian Islands, Alaska, to Baja California, Mexico; western North Pacific; North Atlantic; Chile; Peru; southern Australia

Source: North Pacific Seaweeds

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Chorda lomentaria (Areschoug) Areschoug
Scytosiphon simplicissimus
Scytosiphon simplicissimus (Clemente) Cremades

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Range and Status Information Links

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General References