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Lactuca - (L.)Waller.
Common Name Blue Sow Thistle
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats A very rare native of Scotland, growing on alpine rock in moist places[17].
Range Mountainous regions of C. Europe, including Britain, from Norway to the Pyrenees.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade


Lactuca Blue Sow Thistle

Lactuca Blue Sow Thistle
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Lactuca is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.3 m (1ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, beetles, lepidoptera.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

Lactuca alpina. Sonchus alpinus.

Edible Uses
Young shoots and stems - raw[4, 105]. The skin is first removed, but the shoots are still rather bitter and unpalatable[4, K]. Older stems can also be peeled and eaten raw[105, 177, 183] but have a bitter taste[2].
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Fresh weight)
  • 0 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 92.9%
  • Protein: 2.1g; Fat: 0g; Carbohydrate: 3g; Fibre: 0.5g; Ash: 1.2g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 26mg; Phosphorus: 30mg; Iron: 0.7mg; Magnesium: 10mg; Sodium: 3mg; Potassium: 208mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 2200mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0.4mg; B6: 0mg; C: 15mg;
  • Reference: [ ]
  • Notes:
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

The leaves and milky sap were at one time often used in herbal medicine, though are seldom employed nowadays[4]. They are diuretic and are also applied externally to inflammations[4].
Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details
Prefers a moist well-drained humus rich neutral to acid light sandy soil and some shade[1, 187, 200]. Plants are hardy to at least -20°c[187].
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and do not let the compost dry out. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division in spring[188]. We have found it best to pot up the clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
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Lactuca capensis 12
Lactuca debilis 32
Lactuca formosana 12
Lactuca indicaIndian Lettuce32
Lactuca indica dracoglossa 22
Lactuca indica laciniata 32
Lactuca ludovicianaWestern Wild Lettuce, Biannual lettuce22
Lactuca perennisPerennial Lettuce32
Lactuca pulchellaBlue Lettuce22
Lactuca quercinaWild Lettuce23
Lactuca raddeana 22
Lactuca sativaLettuce, Garden lettuce33
Lactuca sativa angustanaCeltuce33
Lactuca sativa capitataCabbage Lettuce33
Lactuca sativa crispaCutting Lettuce33
Lactuca sativa longifoliaCos Lettuce33
Lactuca serriolaPrickly Lettuce23
Lactuca sibiricaPrickly lettuce22
Lactuca triangulata 12
Lactuca virosaWild Lettuce, Bitter lettuce13
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Subject : Lactuca  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
Medicinal Uses
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