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Desmarestia viridis
Desmarestia viridis
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Chromista
Phylum: Ochrophyta
Class: Phaeophyceae
Order: Desmarestiales
Family: Desmarestiaceae
Genus: Desmarestia
J.V.Lamouroux, 1813[1]
Type species
Desmarestia aculeata

Desmarestia is a genus of brown algae found worldwide. It is also called acid weed, acidweed,[2][3] oseille de mer, sea sorrel,[4] ウルシグサ (urushi-gusa), stacheltang, mermaid's hair, landlady's wig, or gruagach.[5] However, 'sea sorrel' can also specifically refer to Desmarestia viridis. Members of this genus can be either annual or perennial.[6] Annual members of this genus store sulfuric acid in intracellular vacuoles. When exposed to air they release the acid, thereby destroying themselves and nearby seaweeds in the process. They are found in shallow intertidal zones.[6]

Ingesting sulfuric acid can cause severe digestive problems.[7] but since sulfuric acid tastes extremely sour, members of the genus are unlikely to be eaten in harmful quantities.[7]

The genus was named in honor of Anselme Gaëtan Desmarest.[1]

Detailed artistic rendering of Desamarestia Ligulata
Detailed artistic rendering of Desmarestia Kurilensis
Detailed artistic rendering of the seaweed species Desmarestia Latifrons


AlgaeBase lists 32 currently accepted species within the genus Desmarestia, not including variations and subspecies.[6]


  1. ^ a b Lamouroux, Jean Vincent Félix (1813). "Essai sur les genres de la famille des thalassiophytes non articulées" (PDF). Annales du Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris (in French). 20: 43–45. OCLC 2099267. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  2. ^ Watson, Jane (30 April 2014). "Spatial and temporal variation in kelp forest composition off the NW coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia". Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference. Retrieved 12 December 2017. In general, annual species such as Acid Weed (Desmarestia spp,) were highly variable in abundance
  3. ^ Warneke, Alex (5 December 2014). "These are a few of my favorite species: Desmarestia". Deep Sea News. Deep Sea News. Retrieved 12 December 2017. Rightly named “Acid Weed,” the internal pH of Desmarestia has been estimated as low as 0.6 pH.
  4. ^ Dickinson, Carola I. (1963). British Seaweeds. Kew series. 3. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode. p. 76. OCLC 1437555. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  5. ^ a b c M.D. Guiry. "Desmarestia J.V.Lamouroux". AlgaeBase. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Turner, Nancy J.; von Aderkas, Patrick (2009). "3: Poisonous Plants of Wild Areas". The North American Guide to Common Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms. Portland, OR: Timber Press. p. 116. ISBN 9780881929294. OCLC 747112294.