Peacock's tail

Peacock's tail ©Julie Hatcher

Peacock's tail seaweed

Peacock's tail ©Julie Hatcher

Peacock's tail

Scientific name: Padina pavonica
A scarce but distinctive brown seaweed with curved, funnel-shaped fronds. It is a warmer water species at the northern edge of its range on the south coast of England.

Species information

Statistics

Grows to 10cm tall

Conservation status

Nationally scarce. Priority UK BAP species. Feature of Conservation Importance.

When to see

April to September

About

Peacock’s tail is a distinctive seaweed, unlike any other species in the UK. It's less colourful than its name suggests and has an alternative name of turkey-feather algae. It grows in rockpools in scattered locations along the south coasts of England and Wales.

The creamy coloured, funnel-shaped fronds feel papery and chalky to the touch and get torn with age. On close inspection they are covered in fine hairs which give them a slightly fuzzy appearance underwater.

How to identify

Clusters of curved, funnel-shaped fronds which are cream to pale brown in colour, with concentric, chalky bands.

Distribution

A few locations on the south coast of England, including Dorset, and the south coast of Wales.

Did you know?

This seaweed likes warmer water and is more common further south, for example in the Mediterranean. In the UK it is limited to the south coasts of England and Wales.

How people can help

Seaweeds provide food and shelter for all kinds of shore creatures, so do not detach seaweed from the rocks or pull branches off, and avoid trampling through rockpools. Leave everything as you found it and always follow the Seashore Code to avoid damage to rocky shore species.

If you want to learn more about our rockpool life, Wildlife Trusts around the UK run rockpool safaris to help more people discover the wonderful wildlife of our shores.