Porphyra

Botanical Name : Porphyra umbilicalis
Family: Bangiaceae
Genus: Porphyra
Domain: Eukaryota
Phylum: Rhodophyta
Class: Rhodophyceae
Order: Bangiales

Common Name :Laver

Habitat :It grows in the intertidal zone, typically between the upper intertidal zone and the splash zone in cold waters of temperate oceans. In East Asia, it is used to produce the sea vegetable products nori (in Japan) and gim (in Korea), the most commonly eaten seaweed. There are considered to be 60 to 70 species of Porphyra worldwide and seven in the British Isles.

Description:
Porphyra is a foliose red algal genus of laver, comprising approximately 70 species.Porphyra displays a heteromorphic alternation of generations. The thallus we see is the haploid generation; it can reproduce asexually by forming spores which grow to replicate the original thallus. It can also reproduce sexually. Both male and female gametes are formed on the one thallus. The female gametes while still on the thallus are fertilized by the released male gametes, which are non-motile. The fertilised, now diploid, carposporangia after mitosis produce spores (carpospores) which settle, then bore into shells, germinate and form a filamentous stage. This stage was originally thought to be a different species of alga, and was referred to as Conchocelis rosea. The fact that Conchocelis was the diploid stage of Porphyra was discovered by the British phycologist Kathleen Mary Drew-Baker in 1949 for the European species Porphyra umbilicalis. It was later shown for species from other regions as well.
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Species
*Porphyra abbottae V.Krishnam., Red laver
*Porphyra leucosticta Thur.
*Porphyra linearis Grev.
*Porphyra miniata (C.Agardh)
*Porphyra purpurea (Roth)
*Porphyra tenera
*Porphyra umbilicalis (L.) J.Agardh.
*Porphyra yezoensis Ueda

Food Use:
Most human cultures with access to Porphyra use it as a food or somehow in the diet, making it perhaps the most domesticated of the marine algae, known as laver, nori (Japanese), amanori (Japanese), zakai, gim (Korean),[8] zicai (Chinese), karengo, sloke or slukos. The marine red alga Porphyra has been cultivated extensively in many Asian countries as an edible seaweed used to wrap the rice and fish that compose the Japanese food sushi, and the Korean food gimbap. In Japan, the annual production of Porphyra spp. is valued at 100 billion yen (US$ 1 billion).

Medicinal Uses:
Sloke gives off a green liquid, thought to be rich in iron (used as a dietary supplement). There is a story of one woman having had a case of dropsy cured by drinking two bottles of sloke water.  In Scotland, the natives ate the laver boiled, and dissolved into oil. It was said that if a little butter was added to it one might live many years on this alone, without bread or any other food, and at the same time undergo any laborious exercise.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porphyra
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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