Red algae (seaweeds) - not always red and not weedy

Names can be a problem.  Seaweeds are really important to our survival - producing half the oxygen we breathe, for a start.  But although "weed" is a term used for aquatic plants with no negatives implied, the word is more often used to describe problem plants - unwanted, bothersome ones that turn up where we don't want them and compete with the ones we do want.  And weedy can mean a bit pathetic, feeble. 

But put on a lightbox, the beauty of these overlooked plants is evident.

Plocamium microcladioides, I think, with characteristic side branchlets in alternating series of three.  Yes, it is this red naturally.

Polysiphonia strictissima with its lovely feathery looking branches and soft fine tips.  And yes, it is a red alga too - but the colour can vary from reddish brown to rich crimson, fading to yellow-brown.

A small sample indeed - there are about 900 seaweeds in New Zealand, many as yet not even named.  There is so much to explore and learn about the world around us!