Biodiversity & Conservation

Pepper dulse - Osmundea pinnatifida

Pepper dulse

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Distribution map

Osmundea pinnatifida recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

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Osmundea pinnatifida is not listed under any importance categories.

Taxonomy icon Taxonomy Taxon English term
Phylum Rhodophyta Red seaweeds
Class Florideophyceae
Authority (Hudson) Stackhouse
Recent synonyms Laurencia pinnatifida
Map icon Recorded Distribution in Britain and Ireland Common on exposed to moderately sheltered rocky shores on all coasts of the Britain and Ireland.
Habitat information icon Habitat information Common to middle and lower rocky shores, often covering large areas with a greenish-yellow turf like growth in pools and on rocks but never subtidal.
Text page icon Description A small red alga (up to 8 cm in length), it is tough and cartilaginous with flattened fronds. Branching is alternate and occurs in one plane only, with branches becoming shorter towards their apex and broadly rounded. The plant is highly variable in size and colouration depending upon its location on the shore. Higher shore plants are generally dwarfed and yellow-green in colour, owing to exposure to high levels of sunshine while on the lower shore they are reddish-brown.
Identifying features
  • A small red seaweed up to 8 cm in length.
  • Tough with flattened fronds.
  • Alternate branching, branches become shorter towards the top and broadly rounded.
  • Highly variable in size and colouration depending upon its location on the shore.
  • Colour ranges from yellow-green to reddish brown.
Additional information icon Additional information This aromatic seaweed is dried and used as a spice in Scotland.

This review can be cited as follows:

Paolo Pizzolla 2003. Osmundea pinnatifida. Pepper dulse. 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: <>