Irish Moss vs. Sea Moss | Are They Different or The Same?

Nov 25, 2023

4 min 3 sec

K. Browne- by K. Browne

Share This:

Lately, sea moss can be seen almost everywhere on YouTube, TikTock, Instagram, even Forbes and the New York Times.

This marine superfood is known for its health benefits and potential to help people with weight loss, gut health, arthritis, and even mental health.

Irish Moss vs Sea Msss

But there is some confusion between Irish Moss and Sea Moss. 

Some seem to think that Irish Moss and Sea Moss are different plants.

In this post, we'll explore Irish Moss and Sea Moss and their similarities and differences.

But first.

Raw purple sea moss (Eucheuma Cottonii)

What is Sea Moss?

Sea Moss (or sea mosses) is a type of seaweed that grows and harvested all over the world.

Seaweeds are broken up into three main groups:

  • Rhodophyta (red seaweeds)

  • Chlorophyta (green seaweeds)

  • Phaeophycease (brown seaweeds)

Sea Mosses belong to the red seaweed group (Rhodophyta).

There are different types of sea moss which also come in different colors.

Popular species include:

  • Chrondus Crispus (Irish Moss)

  • Eucheuma Cottonii

  • Gracilaria

  • Kappaphycus alvarezii

Some of the most popular sea mosses grow in the North Atlantic, the Caribbean Islands, Asia, South America, and Africa. 

Popular countries where sea moss comes from include, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Honduras, Japan, the Philippines, Ireland, Great Britain, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Irish sea moss

What is Irish Moss?

Irish Moss, whose scientific name is Chondrus crispus, is one type of sea moss that belongs to the Rhodophyta group.

It grows along the Northern Atlantic coast.

Irish Moss grows around the coast of Ireland and Great Britain, as well as other parts of Western and Northern Europe including Iceland, France, and Portugal.

You'll also find Irish moss growing around the coast of Canada and in North America along the coasts from Newfoundland to New England.

It thrives in colder water temperatures, which is why it's more prevalent in the North Atlantic.

It attaches itself to the rocky substrates where it can absorb nutrients from the ocean.

It is also widely known for its rich nutrient content and health benefits.

The difference between Irish moss and sea moss.

What is The Difference Between Sea Moss and Irish Moss?

Irish moss is a type of sea moss that belongs to the same family of the other popular types of sea moss.

There are differences between Chrondus Crispus (Irish moss) and the other types of sea moss like Eucheuma Cottonii, Gracilaria, and Kappaphycus alvarezii.

Here's a breakdown of some key differences:


  • Chrondus Crispus: (Irish Moss): Deep red, dark purple, green, yellowish hues.
  • Eucheuma Cottonii: Purple, brown, green.
  • Gracilaria: Green, red, yellow, variegated.
  • Kappaphycus alvarezii: Light green, brown.


  • Chrondus Crispus: Cold, temperate waters - Atlantic Ocean, Europe, North America.
  • Eucheuma Cottonii: Prefers warmer tropical waters, commonly found in Southeast Asia.
  • Gracilaria: Grows in various climates, from temperate to tropical regions.
  • Kappaphycus alvarezii: Found in warm tropical waters, especially in Southeast Asia.
Irish moss grows along the coasts and colder waters of the North Atlantic, the British Isles, continental Europe, and North America.



  • Chrondus Crispus: Flat, fan-like branches
  • Eucheuma Cottonii: Thick, stick-like branches
  • Gracilaria: Thin, delicate branches
  • Kappaphycus alvarezii: Thick, cylindrical branches


  • Chondrus Crispus: Firm and rubbery when hydrated.
  • Eucheuma Cottonii: More rigid and coarse compared to Chondrus Crispus.
  • Gracilaria: Softer and more flexible.
  • Kappaphycus Alvarezii: Generally firm and somewhat crunchy when dry.


  • Chondrus Crispus: Usually smaller, can grow up to about 8 inches in length.
  • Eucheuma Cottonii: Can grow larger, often reaching several feet in length.
  • Gracilaria: Size varies widely, can be quite long and slender.
  • Kappaphycus Alvarezii: Often grows large, up to several meters in some cases.

Health Benefits

  • Chondrus Crispus: High in iodine and carrageenan, good for thyroid function, gut health, and as a source of vitamins and minerals.
  • Eucheuma Cottonii: Rich in carrageenan, used for digestive health, and is a source of various minerals.
  • Gracilaria: High in agar, protein, and dietary fiber, beneficial for digestive health and weight management.
  • Kappaphycus Alvarezii: A significant source of kappa-carrageenan, known for cardiovascular health benefits.

How Irish moss got its name?

The name "Irish moss" originated during the Irish Potato Famine in Ireland in the mid-19th century. 

Irish potato famine, 1845 – 1852.


The Irish Potato Famine, also known as the Great Hunger, was a period of great famine, disease, and emigration in Ireland from 1845 to 1849. 

The famine was caused by potato blight, a fungal disease that destroyed the potato crop, the Irish population's staple food. 

The blight caused a widespread failure of the potato crop for several years in a row, leading to a severe food shortage that affected the entire country.

As a result of the famine, over a million people died from starvation and disease, and another million emigrated from Ireland to escape the dire conditions. 

The famine significantly impacted Irish society, culture, and political and economic relations between Ireland and Great Britain.

At that time, the Irish turned to the red algae growing off their coasts for a source of food and nutrition.

It was used as a thickening agent. 

It was boiled with milk and sugar to make a thick, nourishing pudding called carrageen.

The pudding often served as a remedy for coughs and colds and other health benefits, such as improving digestion and strengthening the immune system.

Why is Jamaican Sea Moss called Irish Moss?

My theory is this.

The Irish arrived in Jamaica during the 17th century when the island was under British rule. 

Many came as merchants and traders and others came as indentured servants and prisoners.

When they came, they also brought their Irish traditions.

They discovered Jamaican sea moss (Gracilaria) growing off the coast of the island and adopted it as their new Irish moss.

Where is the Best Sea Moss Grown?

The best sea moss typically grows in regions where the oceans are known for their clarity and minimal pollution, as these conditions are crucial for producing high-quality and nutrient-rich sea moss.

Notable locations include the remote areas of the North Atlantic, where the waters are less affected by industrial activities, making them ideal for sea moss cultivation, particularly around Iceland and Ireland.

The Caribbean also hosts some pristine areas, especially away from densely populated coastlines and major tourist hubs, offering a suitable environment for sea moss.

Islands in the Caribbean where you find top-quality sea mosses include St. Lucia, Jamaica, Grenada, Dominica, Barbados, Antigua, Barbuda, Trinidad, and Guadeloupe.

Further afield, the South Pacific Islands, recognized for their clean, nutrient-rich waters, contribute significantly to the quality of sea moss found there.

Coastal areas of New Zealand, benefiting from strict environmental regulations, also support healthy sea moss growth.

These regions, characterized by their unspoiled marine environments, are synonymous with the cultivation of some of the best sea moss in the world.

Final Thoughts about Irish Moss vs. Sea Moss

In conclusion, sea moss and Irish moss are both nutrient-dense algae that offer a wide range of health benefits and culinary applications. 

While they share some similarities, they also have distinct differences in type of sea moss, species, nutrient content, appearance, and where they are grown. 

Understanding the differences between Irish moss and sea moss can help you choose the best option for your health and needs. 

If you're buying Irish moss or sea moss, buy from a reputable source to ensure that you get real natural sea moss that is pure and free from contaminants or additives.

K. Browne

About the author

I am a husband, a father, and a health enthusiast. I created this blog to help people concerned about their health to learn about the wonderful benefits of sea moss.

Sea Moss Wellness

Looking to buy dried sea moss, organic sea moss gels, or sea moss capsules and supplements? Look no further.

Whether you prefer the convenience of ready-to-use gel for your daily routine, the flexibility of raw sea moss to craft your own creations, or the ease of capsules for convenient on-the-go nutrition, we've got you covered.

The content on this website is not medical advice and it’s intended for informational and educational purposes only. Read our disclaimer.

VisaMastercardDiscover cardAmerican Express

© 2024 Sea Moss Wellness Company