Dulse (Palmaria palmata)

Dulse / Dillisk / Palmaria palmata

Dulse – Palmaria palmata

Scientific Classification

Phylum : Rhodophyta

Class : Florideophyceae

Order : Palmariales

Family : Palmariaceae

Genus : Palmaria

Species : Palmaria palmata – (Linnaeus) Kuntze 1891

Common Names :

Dulse – Dillisk – Tang

Distribution

Dulse – Palmaria palmata – is a cold water algae species that is found in the middle to lower shore in many parts of Europe and the North Atlantic Coasts of America. In Europe, its southern limit is Northern Portugal. It can grow in depths of up to 20m on both exposed and sheltered shores. It is found growing on rocks and / or on the stipes of L. hyperborea and Fucus serratus as an epiphyte.

Description

Dulse – Palmaria palmata is a red macro algae / seaweed that grows from a disc holdfast on Laminaria, Fucus serratus, or from the rocks. It is reddish – brown to deep reddish – purple in colour and is leathery in texture, with flat fronds of up to 50cm long. Dulse is sometimes confused with Dilsea carnosa (Schmidel) Kuntze. Dilsea carnosa is another red seaweed, however it is more leathery and its fronds can grow up to 30cm long and 20cm wide. It is not branched, but older plants can split.

History

The earliest record of Dulse – Palmaria palmata being used is approx 1400 years ago by St. Columba’s monks. (Taken from Indergaard, M. and Minsaas, J. 1991 2. Animal and Human Nutrition. in Guiry, M.D. and Blunden, G. 1991. Seaweed Resources in Europe : Uses and Potential. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0 471 92947 6)

Taken from a poem from the 12th Century :

Seal ag buain duilisg so charraig seal ag aclaidh, seal ag tabhairt bhídh do bhoctaibh, seal i gcaracair.

A while gathering Dulse / Dillisk from the rock a while fishing, a while giving food to the poor, a while in a cell.

In Northern Ireland

Eating Dulse as food and as a snack food (like a packet of crisps / chips) has been a long tradition. It is eaten raw. Dulse is mainly sold in Greengrocer / fruit shops. It can be found in some supermarkets. The tradition was to harvest the seaweed during May to September and air dry it outside on harbour walls and on beaches.

Not really hygienic!!

Irish Seaweeds has developed a fully controllable system for drying for all our seaweeds.

This is hygienic and brings Irish Seaweeds up to HACCP standard.

The Auld Lammas Fair – Dulse and Yellowman One of the main fairs / occasions of the summer in Northern Ireland as the Auld Lammas Fair (Ould Lammas Fair) at Ballycastle, Co Antrim. This traditional fair, held on the last Monday and Tuesday in August, dates back to 1612 and is also a horse fair. It attracts thousands of people to the coastal village. Dulse and Yellowman – a hard, sticky yellow toffee are the “traditions” of the Auld Lammas Fair. There is an old song / poems and it goes :

Did you treat your Mary-Ann to some Dulse and Yellowman, At the Auld Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O?

As Food

With recent interest in macroalgae / seaweeds and their health benefits, seaweeds are more easily digested and contain more vitamins, nutrients and minerals weight for weight than land plants. Dulse – Palmaria palmata is a sea plant / sea vegetable and is a good source of vitamins and minerals. It also contains all the trace elements needed by humans and has high levels of Protein and Iron. (Taken from Indergaard, M. and Minsaas, J. 1991 2. Animal and Human Nutrition. in Guiry, M.D. and Blunden, G. 1991. Seaweed Resources in Europe : Uses and Potential. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0 471 92947 6) Dulse / Dillisk can be used whole or flaked in soups, breads, in salads, as a relish and throughout cooking – more ideas and recipes can be found on our recipe page

Other Dulse – Palmaria palmata Uses

Food – as an additive, ground whole and consumed whole.

Health and Cosmetics – as a mineral supplement and in the body care industry.

Animal Feed.