Lactuca canadensis L.
Lactuca sagittifolia Elliott
Lactuca canadensis L. var. integrifolia (Bigelow) Torr. & A. Gray
Lactuca canadensis L. var. latifolia Kuntze
Lactuca canadensis L. var. longifolia (Michx.) Farw.
Lactuca canadensis L. var. obovata Wiegand
Lactuca canadensis L. var. typica Wiegand
Lactuca steelei Britton
Lactuca sagittifolia Elliot
Wild lettuce, Canada lettuce
Wild lettuce is a widespread North American native.
Plants: 4-10' (1.2-3 m) tall, with stems that are green or spotted with purple. The latex from a broken stem is brown.
Leaves: Leaves vary greatly in shape, and may resemble the shape of a sickle, or be long and narrow, or have wider and deep lobes. They are 6-14" (15-35 cm) long.
Flowers: At the top, large cone-shaped panicles consisting of 50-100 flowers appear. Individual flowers are about ¼" (8.5 mm) around, with 15-22 florets (tiny petals) each. They are yellow, pinkish-orange, or reddish.
Fruits: The achenes (seeds) are small and brown, each with a “parachute” attached, like dandelions.
Some Lactuca species:
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|Plant||Tall blue lettuce grows up to 6' (1.8 m) high.||4-10' (1.2-3 m) tall, with stems that are green or spotted with purple. The latex from a broken stem is brown.||Erect, 12-79" (30-200 cm) tall. Stems sometimes have stiff hairs near the bottom; stems and leaves have a milky sap when cut.|
|Flowers||Blue, about ¼-½" (6.3-12 mm) across, in crowded clusters at the top.||At the top, large cone-shaped panicles consisting of 50-100 flowers appear. Individual flowers are about ¼" (8.5 mm) around, with 15-22 florets (tiny petals) each. They are yellow, pinkish-orange, or reddish.||In panicles that form open, roughly conical clusters of flowers. Flowers are ⅜-½" (1-1.5 cm) in diameter, and have 13-27 florets (petals) each. Flowers appear July-September.|
|Leaves||Leaves are deeply divided, like those of dandelions, but while dandelion leaves are roughly the same width along their length, these are more triangular in overall shape. They are up to 12" (30 cm) long and 6" (15 cm) wide at the base, tapering to sharp tips. Leaves are hairy, undersides more so.||Vary greatly in shape, and may resemble the shape of a sickle, or long and narrow, or wider and deep lobes. They are 6-14" (15-35 cm) long.||Alternate, 1¾-12" (5-30 cm) long and ⅜-4" (1-10 cm) wide. The mid-ribs of leaves have prickers along the bottom. Typically leaves are deeply lobed.|
|Fruit||Achenes (seeds) are small and brown, each with a “parachute” attached, like dandelions.||⅛" (3 mm) long, single-seeded, lance-shaped, attached to a “parachute” like dandelions.|
|Habitats||Redwood forest, wetlands||Woodland margins, clearings, near the edges of water, roadsides, pastures.||Grasslands, seasonal wetlands, orchards, vineyards, urban places, roadsides, disturbed habitats.|
Edibility: Leaves are edible when cooked, but not especially desirable.
Lactuca canadensis on CalPhotos
Lactuca canadensis at Illinois Wildflowers
Lactuca canadensis on Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses
Lactuca canadensis on Wildflowers of the United States
Lactuca canadensis on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants
Lactuca canadensis on Delaware Wildflowers
Lactuca canadensis on SEINet—the Southwest Environmental Information Network
Lactuca canadensis on eFloras
Lactuca canadensis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Sep 2020.