Wild lettuce herb: A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information on wild lettuce

Lactuca quercina is a wild annual or biennial flower in the Asteraceae family.

Wild lettuce as it is commonly called, will grow to heights of a little over 3 feet. The root is tuberous, simple or branched from which is produced a weak green stem. This stem is erect, branched in the upper part, and glabrous (free from hair; smooth).

The plant's leaves are pinnate or toothed. Its basal leaves are obovate or lyrate, pinnate-lobed to pinnatifid, narrowed into a long petiole. Its middle and upper cauline leaves are sessile (attached directly without stalk); also ovate to lanceolate, non-lobed to pinnatisect with 2-9 pairs of lobes, cordate-sagittate at base, and all thin in texture.

Wild lettuce bracts are linear lanceolate, and roughly 10-11 mm. in length, featuring an obtuse apex and scarious margins, and often with small backwards orientated appendages and anthocyanin (blue, violet) spots. Heads of 8 (11-15) 22 florets. Ligules are yellow, longer than the involucre. Achenes are obovate, at around 7-8 mm in length. Blooms are yellow.

The entire plant is rich in a milky sap that will freely flow any wounds the plant receives. The sap will dry and harden in contact with air.

common names & nomenclature
This plant is related to the common garden lettuce, which gives way to the common name wild lettuce.

Also known as:
wild lettuce, lettuce opium

Wild lettuce herb: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting wild lettuce

Wild lettuce grows in woodland gardens, woodland edges, and scrub areas in sun to part shade.

Prefers a light sandy loam that is nitrogen-rich and moist.

Sow seeds in spring directly into the garden soil and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick.

Harvest the plant in the summer when it is in flower, dry for later use.

Store dried wild lettuce herb in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Wild lettuce herb: Where in the World
habitat and range for wild lettuce

Lactuca quercina, or wild lettuce, is native to Europe.