Biodiversity & Conservation

Corallina officinalis on very exposed lower eulittoral rock



Image Keith Hiscock - Steep bedrock shore with Corallina officinalis (ELR.Coff). Image width ca 1 m.
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Distribution map

LR.HLR.FR.Coff recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • EC_Habitats

Marine natural heritage importance

Listed under EC Habitats Directive
National importance Scarce
Habitat Directive feature (Annex 1) Reefs

Biotope importance

The biotope harbours a diverse epiphytic fauna, which is probably an important food source for intertidal fish and bird species that forage on the lower shore e.g. rock pipits and turnstones), although they are not closely associated with the biotope and probably forage over a wide area of the shore.


Corallina officinalis was used in Europe as a vermifuge although it no longer seems to be collected for this purpose (Guiry & Blunden, 1991). Corallina officinalis is collected for medical purposes; the fronds are dried and converted to hydroxyapatite and used as bone forming material (Ewers et al., 1987). It is also sold as a powder for use in the cosmetic industry. An European research proposal for cultivation of Corallina officinalis is pending as of May 2000 (Wiedemann, pers. comm.). Both Chondrus crispus and Mastocarpus stellatus are collected as 'carragheen' by hand picking and racking in Europe (Guiry & Blunden, 1991).

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This review can be cited as follows:

Tyler-Walters, H. 2005. Corallina officinalis on very exposed lower eulittoral rock. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 27/11/2015]. Available from: <>