The genus Egregia (Turner) Areschoug
Two species of Egregia can be found along the west coast of the United States, Egregia menziesii and Egregia laevigata. Egregia laevigata is mainly found only in the warmer waters of Southern California, although it is also found on the rocks at Pebble Beach, CA. Egregia menziesii is darker in color than Egregia laevigata, can grow to slightly greater lengths, and is densely covered with small, blunt tubercules, while Egregia laevigata is much smoother. In addition, the blades and pneumatocysts of living individuals of E. laevigata are crisper and more brittle.
You can get an idea of how rough and studded with tubercules the rachis is in this picture of Egregia menziesii, as well as notice the dark, almost chocolate brown color. The tubercules are also present on the blades and the pneumatocysts.
Some geographical variability can be seen in the physical characteristics of Egregia menziesii. The northern populations (Alaska to Cape Mendocino) have tuberculated stipes and smooth sporophylls, while southern populations (Los Angeles to Baja) have smooth stipes and wrinkled sporophylls. Plants in between contain every possible combination of geographical features, plus other variations. (1)Reference for this page: Abbott, Isabella A., and George J. Hollenberg. Marine Algae of California. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA. 1976.
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