Laminaria is a genus of 31 species of brown algae (Phaeophyceae), all sharing the common name "kelp". This economically important genus is characterized by long, leathery laminae and relatively large size. Some species are referred to by the common name Devil's apron, due to their shape, or sea colander, due to the perforations present on the lamina. It is found in the north Atlantic Ocean and the northern Pacific Ocean at depths from 8 m to 30 m (exceptionally to 120 m in the warmer waters of the Mediterranean Sea and off Brazil).
The name also refers to the use of this algae to dilate the cervix when induction of pregnancy is necessary. It serves to absorb moisture and then expand, subsequently expanding the cervix.