1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Irish Moss
IRISH MOSS, or Carrageen (Irish carraigeen, “moss of the rock”), a sea-weed (Chondrus crispus) which grows abundantly along the rocky parts of the Atlantic coast of Europe and North America. In its fresh condition the plant is soft and cartilaginous, varying in colour from a greenish-yellow to a dark purple or purplish-brown; but when washed and sun-dried for preservation it has a yellowish translucent horn-like aspect and consistency. The principal constituent of Irish moss is a mucilaginous body, of which it contains about 55%; and with that it has nearly 10% of albuminoids and about 15% of mineral matter rich in iodine and sulphur. When softened in water it has a sea-like odour, and from the abundance of its mucilage it will form a jelly on boiling with from 20 to 30 times its weight of water. The jelly of Irish moss is used as an occasional article of food. It may also be used as a thickener in calico-printing and for fining beer. Irish moss is frequently mixed with Gigartina mammillosa, G. acicularis and other sea-weeds with which it is associated in growth.