Bull Kelp

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Scientific Name: Nereocystis luetkeana

Number of Blades/Leaves: N/A

Blade/Leaf Width: N/A

Distribution: Nereocystis luetkeana is common along the Pacific Coast of North America, from Southern California to the Aleutian Islands, Alaska.

Description: Nereocystis luetkeana, commonly called bull kelp or bullwhip kelp forms thick beds on rocks, and is an important part of kelp forests. It can grow to a maximum of 36m (118ft). Nereocystis has a holdfast of about 40cm (16in), and a single stipe, topped with a pneumatocyst containing carbon monoxide, from which sprout the numerous (about 30-64) blades. The blades may be up to 4m (13ft) long, and up to 15cm (5.9in) wide. It is usually annual, sometimes persisting up to 18 months. Nereocystis is the only kelp which will drop spore patches, so that the right concentration of spores lands near the parent's holdfast.

 

Live bull kelp flowing in an ocean current