Laminaria digitata


Oarweed is a common 'kelp' seaweed which grows in dense beds, attached to rocky shores by its tough, root-like holdfasts. It can grow at depths of up to 20 metres in clear water, and flourishes in strong currents. The floating fronds may be exposed at low tide. Oarweed is a perennial which can live for up to six years; although growth occurs throughout the year, it is fastest in spring.

How to identify

Oarweed is a typical 'kelp' seaweed, dark browny-green, with long fronds split into long 'fingers' or 'ribbons'.

Where to find it

Common on rocky shores all around our coasts.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Kelp beds are important habitats for a whole host of species, nursery beds for fish and food for many of our rarer animals. Our seas and coastline are in need of protection if we are to keep our marine wildlife healthy. The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. This work has recently had a massive boost with the passing of the Marine Bill, promising sustainable development of the UK's marine environment. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Laminaria digitata
Seaweeds and grasses
Length: up to 2m
Conservation status