Factsheets for Brown Seaweeds (phylum Phaeophyta)

Genus: Undaria Trade names: wakame Symbol: UN
AuthoritySuringar Type species: Undaria pinnatifida (Harvey) Suringar
Commercial species:  peterseniana (PEN),  pinnatifida (PII)
Common names: Ao-wakame, Ito-wakame, Kizami-kombu, Kizami-wakami, Miyok, Nambu-wakame, Precious sea grass, Sea mustard, Wakame
Classification: Eukaryota, Phylum Heterokontophyta, Order Laminariales, Family Alariaceae.
AlgaeBase names and species:  6 names - 3 current as of 12-2001.
Comprehensive lists of common names , generic & specific names can be found at AlgaeBase. >>Click here<<  for SuriaLink's policy on names.
SuriaLink SeaPlant Utility Rating
Significant aquaculture crop used as human food.
Agronomy must use good  environmental practices.
Rated as "alien & invasive" in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Western Europe.
Undaria tissues are differentiated into holdfast, a stipe and fronds (blades). The central stipe grows to 10 cm. wide and extends for the length of the plant. Plants may be up to about 2 m. long. The blade has a central lamina and many splits that give the impression of many blades laid out symmetrically on either side of the stipe. The frond may be up to 1m. wide and extends from the tip of the plant for half to three-quarters the length of the plant. Sporophylls are often seen between the base of the blade and the holdfast.
Tends to form dense "forests" by attaching to rock or other hard substrate in sheltered reef areas that are subject to oceanic influence. Grows intertidally and in the subtidal zone to a depth of 15 about metres. Does not thrive in areas with high wave action..

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Undaria production
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Tons per annum
wild harvest
Tons per annum
China n/a 20,000
France n/a n/a
Japan n/a 18,310
North Korea n/a 43,200
South Korea n/a 43,200


n/a 124,710
Approximate annual production figures from recent years are as above.
Biology & Agronomy
Undaria is extensively cultivated in the sea on ropes in China, Japan and Korea. It is also readily dispersed and has become rated as "alien and invasive" in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Western Europe. The mechanism of dispersion is postulated to be ballast water from ships that have taken on ballast in waters where Undaria is endemic.
Contains alginates and a variety of compounds of nutritional interest including fucoidan.
We have several monographs in progress covering analytical procedures post-harvest treatment and process technology. Check the processing index for available web pages and monographs. 
Products, Uses & Applications
Overwhelmingly the main use of Undaria is as human food. It is essentially a staple of the Japanese and Korean diets and is also widely consumed in Japan.
List of species' uses and community affiliations
Genus GenID SpID Species Uses Communities
Undaria UN PEN peterseniana FH SV
Undaria UN PII pinnitifida FH SV

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Undaria is most strongly associated with the Seavegetables community.
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