Irish moss: Where in the World
habitat and range for irish moss

Chondracanthus chamissoi is common all around the shores of Ireland and Great Britain and can also be found along the coast of Europe including Iceland, the Faroe Islands western Baltic Sea to southern Spain. It is found on the Atlantic coasts of Canada and has also been recorded from California in the United States to Japan.

Irish moss: A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information on irish moss

Chondracanthus chamissoi is a relatively small red alga of the Gigartinaceae family, reaching up to a little over than 20 cm in length. It grows and branches four or five times in a dichotomous, fan-like manner. The morphology is highly variable, especially the broadness of the thalli. The branches are 2–15 mm broad, firm in texture and dark reddish brown in color bleaching to yellowish in sunlight. The gametophytes often show a blue iridescence and fertile sporophytes show a spotty pattern. Mastocarpus stellatus is a similar species which can be readily distinguished by its strongly channelled and often somewhat twisted thallus. When washed and sun-dried for preservation, it has a yellowish, translucent, horn-like aspect and consistency.

common names & nomenclature
The common name carrageen moss is from the Irish carraigín, which means "little rock".

Also known as:
carrageen moss, chondrus, carrahan, irish moss, carragheen

Irish moss: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting irish moss

Chondracanthus chamissoi is found growing on rock from the middle intertidal zone into the subtidal zone.

Irish Moss grows on rocks in the ocean.

Irish Moss reaches maturity in 3-5 years, it grows on the rocky bottom of the ocean floor, and the plant grows upwards. At times, storms may break the top of the plant off, but it can continue growing from its base.

The moss fishing season runs from early summer to late autumn. A small fishing vessel hauling upwards of six drags of varying sizes moves slowly and continually around the shallow water where the moss grows. Any moss that may be loose or disengaged from the rocks is picked up by rakes. When the rakes are full, they are raised to the boat using a hauler and a series of pulleys and booms where it is emptied onto the floor of the boat.

Store dried Irish Moss (cut pieces or powder) in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.