Aquascope Facts
Furcellaria lumbricalis

Similar specie

Furcellaria lumbricalis has a round and regularly branched, 1-1,5 dm tall twin amongst the fork-formed red algae (Polyides rotundus), that also blackens when it dries. When living or wet it is somewhat more red in colour than furcellaria lumbricalis, which is apparent when illuminated. The shoots are more fleshy and the crutch between the branching is rounder compared to furcellaria lumbricalis and when dried, the shoots are much easier to break off. Another characteristic that is evident is when it is torn loose. Furcellaria lumbricalis keeps its branching rootlets, while polyides rotundus is broken from its disc-like holdfast. Polyides rotundus is found in shallow water down to 15m in Bohuslän on the Swedish west coast. While diving along Marine walls and over gravel bottoms, occasional specimens are seen, but large colonies have, as yet not been observed.


Furcellaria lumbricalis is one of the few algae to have a genuine Swedish name - kräkel. Carl von Linné heard the word on Gotland for a type of fertilizer and gave the name to this alga. Furcellaria lumbricalis was used as late as the 1940´s as a fertilizer, the seaweed was washed up onto the beaches of Gotland and Öland where it was piled into heaps and later transported to the fields.
Furcellaria lumbricalis is an agar-alga and therefore a potential natural resource. Kolderup Rosenvinge stated that large quantities of loose furcellaria lumbricalis were to found in the Kattegatt, e.g. on Anholt. For a period, Denmark was able to sustain an agar- industry because of the large quantities found in Danish waters. Because of over consumption / production, these resources have since became depleted.

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Bo Johannesson | Martin Larsvik | Lars-Ove Loo | Helena Samuelsson