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Chondrus crispus

"Irish moss"

This rodophyte has been collected and used by humans for centuries. Chondrus is characteriezed by its flattened dichotomous branches which, when reproductive, may have small bumps near the tips. The alga generally appears dark red, and, as in one photo shown here, sometimes there is a slight blue sheen on the surface. Chondrus is very rich in carrageenan. Carrageenen is a complex carbohydrate (more specifically, a mucopolysaccharide) that is associated with the cell walls. Carrageenan is just one of a number of algal products that humans commomly use.