Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: Neptune’s necklace

with 18 comments

Something else that intrigued me at Cable Bay on February 13th and at other places on other dates was a type of brown algae known by the imaginative names Neptune’s necklace, Neptune’s pearls, sea grapes, and bubbleweed (Hormosira banksii).

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 28, 2017 at 5:06 AM

18 Responses

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  1. Amazing. I have never seen it. The ocean and its beaches are filled with wonders. I love to comb and
    see what has turned up. I wonder what the algae looks like in the water.


    March 28, 2017 at 6:40 AM

    • You raise a good question. I don’t know how the strands of the “necklace” arrange themselves when they have the freedom to move in three dimensions in the water.

      From what I’ve seen in documentaries and read in articles, scientists regularly discover new kinds of creatures in the oceans, many of which strike us as much more alien than this “necklace.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 28, 2017 at 6:48 AM

  2. These bring back the memories of popping the beads as children. It is strange how common place these were for me, yet are fascinating to visitors to my home.

    Raewyn's Photos

    March 28, 2017 at 11:22 AM

    • Isn’t that the way of it? We often take familiar things for granted. Fortunately others can come along and point out to us that our familiar things have their charms. Sometimes we come to realize that on our own, too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 28, 2017 at 12:29 PM

  3. The segmented nature of the algae reminds me of the pickleweed you found in California. What surprised me was that the scientific name seemed so familiar. I thought I’d seen banksii before, and I had. Sir Joseph Banks got around.

    It’s interesting that a new vermouth bar and bistro named Banksii has opened in Sydney. At their site, I read, “Named after Sir Joseph Banks, the first botanist to come to Australia, Banksii is a destination for the residents and workers in the new precinct… The contemporary menu is influenced by the Mediterranean with a strong focus on botanicals.”

    It’s pretty high-end, but the menu is interesting. There are a good number of pickled items I wouldn’t have expected, and I noticed they serve mussels with nettle butter.


    March 29, 2017 at 7:29 PM

    • By coincidence, we watched a segment about Joseph Banks on the History Channel this afternoon. The documentary made him out to be the most prolific collector ever. I immediately thought of the Banksia flowers of Australia.

      In the Small Dishes section of that restaurant’s menu, did you notice that the first item includes lantana? When I visited Australia in 2005, I was amazed to find some Texas lantana growing wild alongside a path I walked on.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 29, 2017 at 10:50 PM

      • I did notice that lantana. The saltbush caught my eye, too. I wondered if it might be a different common name for the pickleweed, but it’s an entirely different plant.

        I had my first taste of yaupon tea last Saturday. One of the instructors at a NPSOT event had brought both black and green, and we brewed it for the lunch break. I was surprised to find that it can be purchased online, but that’s where Margaret got hers.


        March 31, 2017 at 8:19 AM

        • Then Margaret isn’t grieving over Goldengrove unleaving. Only the yaupon has unleaved.

          I see Cat Spring, where the yaupon tea company resides, is about half-way between Austin and Galveston.

          Texas lantana grows wild in several places in my neighborhood. I saw some flowering just yesterday.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 31, 2017 at 8:53 AM

  4. Not that I am suggesting doing so, but I wonder if those segments pop when stepped upon. I don’t recall seeing similar algae or seaweed when at the New England coast which is, of course, quite a bit apart from NZ.
    I wonder if possibly Linda was thinking of Banksia, a plant found not too far away in Australia?

    Steve Gingold

    April 1, 2017 at 9:24 AM

    • I wouldn’t have known, but Raewyn says in a comment above that as a child she popped these. And yes, I think Linda was thinking of the Banksia flowers in Australia.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 1, 2017 at 9:34 AM

      • Speaking of which, I’d like to go to Australia so I can photograph flowers like Banksia in their native habitat, as opposed to in an American garden.

        Steve Schwartzman

        April 1, 2017 at 9:36 AM

      • Just a hop, skip and Australian crawl from New Zealand.

        Steve Gingold

        April 1, 2017 at 9:40 AM

        • A surprising (or not surprising, depending on how cynical you want to be) number of Americans think New Zealand is the same place as Australia, even to having kangaroos.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 1, 2017 at 9:42 AM

  5. Hey Steve I know this one well .. love seeing it on the beach. Don’t you get it over your way?


    April 2, 2017 at 12:25 AM

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