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The Seashore

Furbellows (Saccorhiza polyschides) - a brown alga

Furbellows holdfast

The base of Furbellows with the nobbly holdfast and ruffled stipe.

This is the largest European seaweed, growing up to 5 metres in length in a matter of months. The stipe is flat, broad and rigid with ruffles along the edge which dissipates wave energy so that it can survive in the surf. The holdfast is bulbous nearly a metre in diameter when fully grown.

This an annual alga and very fast growing. The rigid stipe makes it unable to avoid desiccation. And so it lives in the extreme lower rocky seashore. The short lived holdfast is not colonised by a micro-community, unlike the Kelps, although a few organisms will be present. It usually forms a community with L. hyperborea in deep water but often extends on to the lower shore if the spray provides enough humidity.

The Furbellows cannot tolerate drying and is found in the extreme lower shore of rocky seashores. It is widespread along the Atlantic shores and along the English Channel


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