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Tuesday, 25th November 2003
Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

This Bladderwrack, Fucus vesiculosus which I picked up on the beach at Scarborough a week or so ago, has been in a bucket of water, tap water, waiting for me to get around to drawing it. I did change the water once because it was getting cloudy.

stained paperThe pattern of branching - always dividing into two - is growth pattern found not just in seaweeds but in a number of the more primitive groups of plants, such as clubmosses.

I was considering of adding a colour wash to my drawing but I wanted to do this as a brush pen drawing so - to give you an idea of the colour - I put the seaweed itself on the glass of my scanner, with a sheet of paper over it to protect the lid of the scanner. I made sure that I wiped the glass straight after doing the scan as I'd noticed that the moist seaweed had left the paper (left) I'd rested it on as I drew it.

bladderwrack bladders bladderwrack fronds
bladderwrack gas bladder

Bladders and Midribs

Scanning has the advantage that I've been able to adjust the contrast so that the bladderack doesn't appear to be such a dark olive green or brown - almost blackish - and you can see its structure more easily.

bladdersmidribThe bladders (left), which give the seaweed its alternative name of popweed, give the seaweed bouyancy.

The fronds have a prominent midrib.


Found on the midshore and in estuaries. In sheltered situations it can grow with its holdfast attached to small pebbles. next page

Related Links

The Seaweed Site

Algaebase a database of terrestrial, marine and freshwater algae including seaweeds.

Medicinal uses of bladderwrack from A Modern Herbal, first published in 1931, by Mrs. M. Grieve at

Richard Bell

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