Nostoc commune Vaucher ex Bornet & Flahault, 1888
|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,
Cosmopolitan in distribution.
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.
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.