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Porphyra is a foliose red algal genus of laver, comprising approximately 70 species. It grows in the intertidal, typically between the upper intertidal to the splash zone. In East Asia, is used to produce the sea vegetable products nori (in Japan) and gim (in Korea), the most commonly eaten seaweed. It is considered that there are 60 to 70 species of Porphyra worldwide and seven in the British Isles.

Life cycle

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. It is now known to be the diploid stage of Porphyra.


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, zakai, kim, karengo, sloke or slukos.The marine red alga Porphyra, which used to produce nori in Japan and gim in Korea, 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).


  • Porphyra leucosticta Thur.
  • Porphyra linearis Grev.
  • Porphyra miniata (C.Ag) C.Ag)
  • Porphyra purpurea (Roth) C.Ag)
  • Porphyra umbilicalis (L.) J.Ag.


External links

  • Porphyra human consumption.

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