We compared the wild Porphyra strain OGATSU from northeastern Japan with cultivated Porphyra yezoensis f. narawaensis using the RuBisCO spacer, rbcL, and ITS-1 DNA sequences as well as early gametophyte development. Based on the molecular analyses and detailed morphological observations, OGATSU was identified as P. yezoensis, but also revealed important differences from the cultivated form. Under the same culture conditions, gametophytic blades of OGATSU produced more archeospores than P. yezoensis f. narawaensis strain HG-4. The length of blades and their length-to-width ratios were significantly lower in OGATSU than in HG-4, and the color of OGATSU blades was darker than that of HG-4. The first lateral cell division in conchospore germlings occurred significantly earlier in the OGATSU strain than in the HG-4 strain, resulting in the rounder shape of the OGATSU blade compared to that of P. yezoensis f. narawaensis. These results suggested that wild strains such as OGATSU can provide useful characters that could enhance cultivated varieties in a careful breeding program.