Posidonia Oceanica

Sounds as beautiful as it is.

Posidonia Oceanica, or Neptune seagrass, is found in the Mediterranean waters and is arguably the oldest living thing on earth.

Named after Poseidon, this seagrass has been growing for millennia.

P. Oceanica

is a large, long-living but very slow-growing seagrass. Its shoots, which are able to live for at least 30 years, are produced at a slow rate from rhizomes which grow horizontally by only 1 to 6 centimetres each year. Over centuries the rhizomes form mats which rise up into reefs that help to trap sediment and mediate the motion of waves, thus clarifying the water and protecting beaches from erosion. Dead leaves are shed in the autumn and can be seen washed up on beaches. (Divediversity)

The meadows of Posidonia Oceanica off the coast of Ibiza.

the remnants of P. Oceanica.

Dried leaves (seen above) were traditionally used to feed cattle, stuff mattresses, and an assortment of other things.  With our increasing awareness of its importance in the mediterranean marine eco system, authorities now educate beach goers about the necessity of leaving P. Oceanica seagrass and its beach leavings in their natural state.

Although a protected species,  P. Oceanica is threatened by trawler fishing, fish farming, and pleasure boat anchoring.  International planning to preserve this important ecosystem is ongoing.

An added note: there’s apparently something called a Posidonia Festival, which is taking place sometime this year.  The website is in spanish, so I don’t know any more about it.  🙂


6 thoughts on “Posidonia Oceanica

  1. I was looking this up as I found several of these “grass balls” on the beach in S Texas. I thought I was going to find something alive inside and was surprised to see that it was just grass, thru and thru. Since everything I read says this is only found in the Mediterranean how likely is it that this has made its way to the coast of TX? Would love to learn any info I can on this. Kathy from the US

    • Hi Kathy;

      I wonder if some version of it migrated to the Gulf of Mexico, and therefore washed up in your neck of the woods in Texas. It seems that these grasses like warm water (vs the cold waters of the atlantic) so maybe that’s a possibility. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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