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Scientific Name: Macrocystis pyrifera
Number of Blades/Leaves: N/A
Blade/Leaf Width: N/A
Distribution: Macrocystis pyrifera is common along the coast of the eastern Pacific Ocean, from Baja California north to southeast Alaska, and is also found in the southern oceans near South America, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
Description: Macrocystis pyrifera, commonly known as giant kelp or giant bladder kelp is the largest of all algae. The stage of the life cycle that is usually seen is the sporophyte, which is perennial and individuals persist for many years. Individuals may grow in excess of 50m (160ft) long. The kelp often grows even longer than the distance from the bottom to the surface as it will grow in a diagonal direction due to the ocean current pushing against the kelp. The stalks arise from a holdfast and branch three or four times from near the base. Blades develop at irregular intervals along the stipe, with a single pneumatocyst (gas bladder) at the base of each blade.