Species: Prickly Lettuce (Lactuca serriola)

Family: Asters (ASTERACEAE or COMPOSITAE)

Category: Flowering Plants

Location: NW

A. Flowering Plants

More extensive information on flowering plants can be found in a separate blog post.

B. Asters (ASTERACEAE or COMPOSITAE)

This is one of the largest worldwide flowering plant families and is well represented in the UK. The name Compositae refers to the clustering of the flowers (called florets) into compact heads, so that an entire cluster represents a single 'flower'. They also have one-seeded fruits called achenes.

C. Prickly Lettuce (Lactuca serriola)

This long-naturalised species is a tall hairless biennial, with a foetid odour, prickly stems, and spines beneath the midribs of the leaves. The yellow flowerheads, with purplish sepal-like bracts, appear in July. Extracts from the wild lettuces, and indeed from cultivated lettuces, have mild narcotic and sedative properties. Roman soldiers dined on lettuce the evening before going into battle so that they got a good night's sleep. Remember that Peter Rabbit fell fast asleep after gorging himself on Mr McGregor's lettuces.

Images

Prickly Lettuce

Prickly Lettuce is a long-naturalised, tall, hairless biennial, with a foetid odour, prickly stems and spines.

Prickly Lettuce

The yellow flowerheads of Prickly Lettuce, with their purplish sepal-like bracts, appear in July.

Prickly Lettuce

Prickly Lettuces have spines beneath the midribs of their leaves.