Sargassum Algae: the context



Sargassum vulgare ("Beerentang").
Fig. from historic 'Brockhaus Konversations-Lexikon', 14. ed. (ca. 1900)

Sargassum 1,   B e r r y   S e a  w e e d  , brown algae with special swimming bladders. 250 species in all of the warmer oceans, in particular in the Australian region. Can be found in huge amounts floating freely in the Sargasso Sea (S. natans).

The Sargasso Sea2 has received its name from the Sargassum algae. It is assumed that the Sargasso Sea has been discovered even before Columbus by the Phoenicians. This is the most reasonable explanation for sayings the the Sea behind the "Columns of Hercules" 3 was of a jelly-like consistence. The big Sargassum algae jungles within the Atlantic Oceans consist mostly out of a single species,  Sargassum bacciferum  . The single plants resemble small branched bushes, have strongly dented leafs, about 3 cm in length and bear globular berries ("swimming bladders"). In former times even ocean ships had to stop their engines from time to time in order to remove those algae from the paddle-wheels.
[Translation from German by the author]

1) Source: Der grosse Herder, 5. Auflage 1956.
2) Source: Georg Gellert (Hrsg.): Die Wunder des Meeres. Berlin 1926, S. 140-150.
3) The term "Columns of Hercules" was used as a name for the mountains to the left and right hand side of the Straits of Gibraltar

Issue #3