Sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca): The miraculous multipurpose sea herb

The Forager's Year

Sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca)

Sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca) has an essentially pan-global distribution, is thoroughly palatable and very good for you. If you live near the sea you probably live near it and yet you probably haven’t eaten it. In Australia, it is not eaten now and the evidence is pretty strong that it was not eaten in any great amount by early settlers (despite a strong seaweed eating tradition in the UK and Ireland from whence settlers and convicts generally came) nor by Aboriginal people (for whom there is well-documented use of bull kelp (Durvillaea potatorum) in Tasmania but not much else).

There was a time nearly twenty years ago on an 11 day wilderness walk on New Zealand’s Stewart Island when on very light rations (due to a food packing glitch we discovered 2 days into the walk but pressed on through)…

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