Wakame

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Wakame
Scientific classification
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U. pinnatifida
Binomial name
Undaria pinnatifida
(Harvey) Suringar, 1873
Wakame salad

Wakame (Japanese: わかめ or 若布) is a type of kelp. People eat it. Its scientific name is Undaria pinnatifida.

It is sold either dried or salted. It is often used in miso soup and salads. In Korea it is called miyeok. It is used in salads, or as the main ingredient in miyeok soup. In China it is called qundaicai. Chinese production is concentrated around Dalian.

In New Zealand Undaria pinnatifida is a very serious weed, and is one of the 100 worst invasive species in the world. It was first seen in Wellington Harbour in 1987. It probably arrived accidentally in the late 1980s, on ships from Asia, in ballast water. It is native to cold temperate coastal areas of Japan, Korea and China, but recently it has also spread to France, Britain, Spain, Italy, Argentina and Australia.

Undaria is now found around much of south-eastern New Zealand, and as far north as Auckland. It spreads in two ways. Naturally, through the millions of microscopic spores released by each fertile plant; and attached to vessel hulls and marine farming equipment.

Undaria is a highly successful and fertile species, which makes it a serious invader.

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