Plants on the beach are full of surprises. Below the tide line, you enter the realm of seaweed. These plants have no roots or flowers, but are as beautiful as any garden plants.
How to collect seaweed
There are numerous species of seaweed found around our coastlines, discover 12 species to look out for in our guide by naturalist Paul Evans.
For seaweed pressing, you don’t want pieces of seaweed that are too large to fit onto your piece of paper, so bear that in mind when picking up seaweed and choose small enough pieces.
Avoid pieces of seaweed that are home to wildlife. Some wildlife species, like crabs or snails, can be transferred to other pieces of seaweed, but some, like bryozoan mats, cannot.
How to press seaweed
You Will Need
- Deep tray
- Sheet of heavy paper, Watercolour paper is ideal
- Fresh water
- Greaseproof baking paper
- Paper towels
- Heavy towels
Rinse your seaweed in fresh water. Part fill your tray with water and place your sheet of watercolour paper at the bottom.
Float your seaweed over the paper until you are happy with the position.
Slowly lift the paper out. Gently dry with paper towels and lay on some newspaper. Cover with a paper towel and some more newspaper.
Place between heavy books. Check each day and change the newspaper and paper towel until your pressed seaweed is completely dry.
Admire your dried seaweed!
Heather Buttivant is a writer and educator who specialises in introducing people to the mysterious wildlife beneath the Cornish waves. Her popular blog, Cornish Rock Pools, won the BBC Wildlife Magazine Blog of the Year Award in 2017 and she has appeared on BBC Countryfile. She is often found crawling through seaweed wearing waders or running children’s events for Cornwall Wildlife Trust in her ‘I love sea slugs’ t-shirt.
This is an edited extract from Beach Explorer: 50 Things To See and Discover by Heather Buttivant. Published by September Publishing, £10.99.