Purple Laver

Porphyra umbilicalis


Purple Laver is a common seaweed that grows on rocks and stones on sandy shores and can tolerate both air exposure and extreme wave action. It is a red algae that occurs singularly or in colonies, attaching to the substrate with a disc-like holdfast. Purple Laver and other Porphyra species have complex lifecycles which include a microscopic phase that lives in shells.

How to identify

Purple Laver is a purplish-brown seaweed with very thin, membrane-like fronds that vary in shape.

Where to find it

Common all around our shores, especially in the west.


When to find it

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

How can people help

Seaweeds provide a vital link in the food chain for many of our rarer species. 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
Purple Laver
Latin name
Porphyra umbilicalis
Seaweeds and grasses
Size: up to 20cm across
Conservation status