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Nostoc commune
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Nostoc commune Vaucher ex Bornet & Flahault, 1888

Species:N. commune
Common Names:Star Jelly, Witches' Butter, Mares' Eggs, Fah-Tsai, Facai


The alga has a firm gelatinous structure that is initially globose. It becomes flattened and membraneous to leathery and perforated. The thallus appears blue-green, olivaceous or brown. Within the gelatinous cover are numerous unbranched, uniseriate trichomes of short, barrel-shaped to nearly spherical cells strung together. Along the trichomes are larger heterocysts occurring between the vegetative cells,

Read more about the Nostocales order.
Read more about the Nostocaceae family.


Cosmopolitan in distribution.

Locality Map

General Biology

This common terrestrial and subaerial alga is found in alkaline soils, especially in paddy fields, moist rocks and cliffs. It also occurs in brackish and marine waters.

Human Uses

Nostoc commune is collected and eaten in the Philippines as a green salad. In Indonesia (Java), China and Japan, it is collected from the sea for food. China exports dried Nostoc that is known as Facai, popularly eaten cooked with vegetables during the Lunar New Year. However, it is claimed that many of these imported products are synthetic Facai, made from starch.

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