Alaria esculenta (Linnaeus) Greville
Called the “Winged Kelp” for the many sporophylls produced from the stipe as plants become mature (reproductive) this species also displays a prominent midrib along the entire length of the vegetative blade and is a distinctive element of the NW Atlantic flora (Image A). Despite considerable variation in the width and length of both the stipe and blade in varying habitats, individuals in the NW Atlantic ally to a single genetic group. A kelp of exposed to semi-exposed habitats, found typically from the low intertidal to subtidal extending to 18 m depth.
We have genetically verified collections ranging from the northern most regions of Baffin Island, NU (as far west as eastern AK) to southern ME. However, in the Arctic Ocean bona fide Alaria esculenta shares its range with a population/species characterized by the COI-5P of another species of this genus, Alaria crispa Kjellman, but nonetheless ITS sequence of Alaria esculenta (with collections from Nome, AK, to Labrador, NL (Bringloe & Saunders 2019); Image B), as well as other genetic entities (Bringloe et al. 2001). Taxonomic work remains.
Image A. Specimen collected from Point Lepreau, NB (GWS000137).
Image B. A specimen from Nome, AK, with the COI-5P of Alaria crispa Kjellman and the ITS of Alaria esculenta (GWS042420).