Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Like a long mound of orange spaghetti

with 30 comments



Driving south along California’s scenic Highway 1 on November 3rd last year, we stopped at Carmel River State Beach, where I found this drying mound of seaweed that made me think of orange spaghetti. You’d have seen it that way too, wouldn’t you?

I take this to be a kelp, possibly Macrocystis pyrifera. Click the icon below to zoom in for some yummy details.



Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 23, 2017 at 5:00 AM

30 Responses

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  1. yes, it does bring this to mind. nice shot –


    January 23, 2017 at 5:17 AM

  2. That’s pasta alright!


    January 23, 2017 at 5:51 AM

  3. Following the food analogy, I wondered what might eat this lovely kelp. It seems that sea urchins favor it. In fact, they like it so much, they can strip kelp beds when their population grows too large. Nature being nature, balance gets restored when otters move in and eat the sea urchins.

    But before that happens, the sea urchins roam the beds, eating to their hearts’ content. That raises another question: do you suppose there’s a Yelp for kelp?


    January 23, 2017 at 7:49 AM

    • As likely a Yelp for kelp as a whelp of a sea otter. I see in the dictionary that in nautical usage a whelp can also be ‘any of the ridges on the barrel of a windlass or capstan.’ Has nautical you heard that usage?

      Beyond the creatures that eat the kelp underwater, this washed-up portion on the beach had attracted lots of very tiny flies. I assume they were there to suck up nutrients from still-wet places, and possibly to lay eggs.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 23, 2017 at 8:10 AM

      • I have heard the word, although I think capstans with ridges are found mostly on older sailing vessels. I’m pretty sure Galveston’s Elissa has a traditional capstan. The winches and windlasses found on modern sailboats have smooth drums, and technology has changed the capstan ridges into a variety of forms, like this one. Combined with hydraulics and such, they make life a lot easier.


        January 23, 2017 at 10:05 PM

  4. Looks a bit gross piled up like that, doesn’t it? I had a botany teacher who could identify seaweeds from the highway, at speed. We had the best field trips 🙂


    January 23, 2017 at 9:38 AM

    • I considered it strictly visually, and therefore didn’t find it gross, even with lots of tiny flies drawn to it. I was like those flies, except my motivation was photographic.

      Where was your botany teacher when I needed him? Actually I need him every time I’m out in nature.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 23, 2017 at 9:49 AM

      • Her. In fact, she was a frighteningly ultra-feminist who told a class of 200 freshman that in the foreseeable future we wouldn’t need men at all. It made quite an impression! Still, she was pretty good at ID.


        January 25, 2017 at 9:58 AM

  5. Not coincidentally also reminds me of various I-35 interchanges.


    January 23, 2017 at 1:23 PM

  6. Nice


    January 25, 2017 at 7:38 AM

  7. Orange spaghetti! Wonderful stuff for the veg garden 😃 I’m a seaweed fan ..


    January 27, 2017 at 5:07 PM

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