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Lactuca serriola - L.

Common Name Prickly Lettuce
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards The mature plant is mildly toxic[13].
Habitats Waste places, walls, occasionally on more or less stable dunes[17].
Range S. and C. Europe, incl Britain, from the Netherlands south and east to N. Africa and the Himalayas.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Lactuca serriola Prickly Lettuce


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lactuca_serriola_Sturm45.jpg
Lactuca serriola Prickly Lettuce
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilisateur:Jeantosti

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Lactuca serriola is a BIENNIAL growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Self.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

L. scariola.

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds; East Wall. In. South Wall. In. West Wall. In.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Oil;  Oil.
Edible Uses: Oil;  Oil.

Young leaves - raw or cooked[13, 55, 62]. A bitter flavour[85]. The young tender leaves are mild and make an excellent salad[183, 217], but the whole plant becomes bitter as it gets older, especially when coming into flower[K]. As a potherb it needs very little cooking[183]. Large quantities can cause digestive upsets[62]. Young shoots - cooked. Used as an asparagus substitute[13]. An edible oil is obtained from the seed[46, 61, 105]. The oil must be refined before it is edible[114]. A pleasant flavour[114, 183].

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.

Anodyne;  Antipyretic;  Diuretic;  Homeopathy;  Hypnotic;  Narcotic;  Sedative.

The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air[4]. The sap contains 'lactucarium', which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties[9, 21, 46, 165, 192, 213, 238]. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets[4], nor is it addictive[7]. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc[238]. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower[238]. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted[4]. This species does not contain as much lactucarium as L. virosa[4]. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used[9]. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness[238] and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis[7, 9]. The fixed oil from the seeds is said to possess antipyretic and hypnotic properties[240]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant[9]. It is used in the treatment of chronic catarrh, coughs, swollen liver, flatulence and ailments of the urinary tract[9].

Other Uses

Oil;  Oil.

The seed contains 35.2% of a semi-drying oil[240]. It is used in soap making, paints, varnishes etc[114].

Cultivation details

Prefers a light sandy loam in a sunny position[1, 13]. The wild lettuce is cultivated for the oil in its seed in Egypt[46, 61]. A compass plant, the top leaves align north-south[200].

Propagation

Seed - sow spring in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

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
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Lactuca biennisTall Blue Lettuce01
Lactuca canadensisCanada Lettuce23
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 sibiricaPrickly lettuce22
Lactuca triangulata 12
Lactuca virosaWild Lettuce, Bitter lettuce13

 

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

17200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

   Thu Dec 30 07:23:19 2004

This plant is found in Malta/Mediterranean basin/Europe

More comprehensive details, medicinal properties, uses, botanical data, plant description and photogallery of high resolutions photos of this plant can be seen on an interesting website about the wild plants of Malta: www.maltawildplants.com

Link: Malta Wild Plants Website and photography by Stephen Mifsud, Malta.

Rajshekhar S Babnoor   Wed Nov 23 2005

dear sir/madam, respected sir/madam please send regarding seed germination,seed cultivation,seed darmancy, seed harvest, seed sowing, seed treatment of lactuca scariola. i kindly request you please send these materials. with full length paper or review of literature or articles of "lactuca scariola".

rajshekhar s babanoor   Sat Mar 3 2007

it gives good information about the plant send us seed germination, cultivation , seed darmancy breaking methods , seed harvest, seed sowing, seed treatment of lactuca scariola.

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Sun Mar 4 2007

Further information about the seeds can be obtained from the Seed Information Database at Kew. http://www.kew.org/data/sid/

José Waizel-Bucay   Fri Jan 9 2009

Synonyms?: Lactuca virosa L.; Lactuca sinuata Forssk.

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Subject : Lactuca serriola  
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