Kelp vs Seaweed: Difference and Comparison

For centuries, people have used sea plants in their foods. Everyone has believed in their goodness.

Kelp and Seaweed are the terms used to describe sea plants. The two are often confused with one another but have a vast difference.

Key Takeaways

  1. Kelp is a specific type of large, brown algae belonging to the Laminariales order, found in cold water marine environments; seaweed is a general term for various marine algae, including green, red, and brown types.
  2. Kelp grows in dense underwater forests called kelp forests, providing essential habitats for marine life; seaweed can be found in various aquatic environments, such as intertidal zones, coral reefs, and open oceans.
  3. Kelp is a rich source of nutrients, often used as a dietary supplement or as an ingredient in food and cosmetic products; seaweed also has nutritional value, but its uses and benefits vary depending on the specific type.

Kelp vs. Seaweed

Kelp is a type of seaweed. Kelp is edible and used in making sushi, salads, and many other foods. It provides high nutritional value. It has 300 known species. Seaweed is a kind of sea plant. Seaweeds are divided into three categories which are red, brown, and green algae. Seaweed is used in the making of snacks. It has 10,000 known species.

Kelp vs Seaweed

Kelp is a type of seaweed or sea plant belonging to the brown algae family and is classified as Laminaria. Seaweed is a primitive type of sea plant that belongs to the algae family and is classified as paraphyletic.

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Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonKelpSeaweed
What it meansKelp is a kind of large seaweed that belongs to the brown algae family, classified as Laminaria.Seaweed is a type of sea plant belonging to the family of algae; they are categorized as paraphyletic.
Known speciesThere are around three hundred known species from thirty genera of kelp.There are around ten thousand known species of seaweed.
Classification Kelp is a classification of seaweed, but there are no sub-classifications of kelp.Seaweeds are generally classified into three main subcategories: red, brown, and green algae.
Use as foodsKelp is one of the most famous edible seaweed, it is also termed as Kombu. Kelp is used in making sushi, soups, salads, and stews.Due to its nutritional value, seaweed became a popular food or supplement. They have a varying range of culinary uses. They make some popular snacks such as chips. They are used in garnishing salads, stir-fried dishes, rice dishes, etc.
Nutritional valueKelp is rich in vitamins A, B-12, B-6, iron, copper, magnesium, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, zinc, calcium, etc. Because of being nutrient-rich, they are often called a superfood.Seaweeds are also nutrient-rich. Red seaweed, like nori, is the greatest source of protein among all seaweeds. Another red seaweed Dulse contains protein, vitamins A, B6, C, and D. Seaweeds are also a rich source of fiber, antioxidants, and omega 3.

What is Kelp?

Kelp is a large seaweed having the order of Laminaria. Kelp belongs to the family of brown algae.

There are around three hundred known species of kelp that belong to the thirty genera. 

Kelp grows in underwater kelp forests found in shallow oceans. They require a temperature range of 6 to 14 degrees Celsius and water rich in nutrients to grow and evolve.

These types of seaweed are known for their high growth rates; some seaweed species can grow up to half a meter a day.

Most kelp varieties are either flat or have a leaf-like structure named blades. They form elongated stems known as stipes. 

Kelp is one of the most famous edible seaweed. This is also named kombu.

These are rich sources of vitamins A, B-12, B-6, iron, magnesium, zinc, calcium, etc. These are called a superfood because of their nutritional value. Kelp is used to make sushi, soups, salad, stews, etc.

Kelp

What is Seaweed?

Seaweed is a type of sea plant of the order Paraphyletic. Seaweed belongs to the family of algae.

There are around ten thousand species of seaweed known to us. Seaweeds are classified into three categories: red, brown, and green algae.

Seaweed requires seawater and sufficient sunlight to grow and carry out photosynthesis. They grow mostly in nearshore water and rocky shores.

Seaweed body consists of an algal body, stipe, which is sometimes absent, and holdfast that provides attachment.

Seaweed is a complete food. However, they are sometimes taken as supplements and snacks. Seaweed is rich in vitamins, fiber, proteins, antioxidants, omega-3, etc.

They are used in making chips, garnishing salads, rice dishes, and stir fry dishes.

Seaweed

Main Differences Between Kelp and Seaweed

  1. Seaweed is a primitive type of sea plant that belongs to the family of algae, whereas kelp is a kind of large seaweed that belongs to the family of brown algae.
  2. Kelp is categorized as Laminaria, while seaweed is categorized as paraphyletic.
  3. Around three hundred species of kelp are known, which belong to the thirty genera; on the other hand, there are around ten thousand species of seaweed known.
  4. Seaweed is generally classified into three categories: red algae, brown algae, and green algae; on the other hand, Kelp is one of the subdivisions of seaweed.
  5. Kelp grows mainly in underwater forests or kelp forests in shallow oceans, forming ecological systems of its own; on the other hand, seaweed grows in seawater, where they receive sufficient sunlight for photosynthesis.
  6. Seaweed is a popular superfood. However, kelp is the most edible seaweed, which is also named kombu.
  7. Kelp is used in making sushi, salad, soups, stews, etc., whereas other seaweed is mostly used in making chips, rice dishes, etc.
  8. Kelp or brown algae is rich in vitamins A, B12, B6, iron, copper, magnesium, riboflavin, thiamine, zinc, calcium, etc.; on the other hand, other seaweeds are rich in proteins, antioxidants, omega-3, etc.
Difference Between Kelp and Seaweed
References
  1. https://academic.oup.com/icesjms/article-abstract/70/5/1038/644026
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3402/polar.v31i0.17258
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