"'Seaweed' is the common name for countless species of marine plants and algae that grow in the ocean as well as in rivers, lakes, and other water bodies. Some seaweeds are microscopic, such as the phytoplankton that live suspended in the water column and provide the base for most marine food chains. Some are enormous, like the giant kelp that grow in abundant “forests” and tower like underwater redwoods from their roots at the bottom of the sea. Most are medium-sized, come in colors of red, green, brown, and black, and randomly wash up on beaches and shorelines just about everywhere."

Number of Species

Brown Species
1100
Brown Species
1500
Red Species
6600
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Seaweed as a staple item of diet has been used in Japan, Korea and China since prehistoric times. In 600 BC, Sze Teu wrote in China, "Some algae are a delicacy fit for the most honoured guests, even for the King himself." Some 21 species are used in everyday cookery in Japan, six of them since the 8th century.

What do all sea vegetables have in common?

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