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Lactuca serriola L.

Kingdom: Plantae Rank: Species Parent: Lactuca Status: Valid

Common Names:

  • PRICKLY LETTUCE - English, United States of America

Morphological Description

Diagnosis: Annual 0.5–2 m tall; latex white; leaf blades pinnatifid, the uppermost unlobed, clasping, the margins prickly-toothed, the midrib prickly beneath, sometimes conspicuously so; corollas yellow, drying bluish; achenes 2.5–3 mm long, halfway flattened (lenticular), unwinged, the beak filiform, 3–4 mm long.


Ecology: This species is toxic in nature. This species has been introduced into the United States.

Notes: Disturbed sites; mainly nc TX and Edwards Plateau s and w to w TX. Apr–Aug. Native of the Old World; name often but not originally written scariola. The widely cultivated GARDEN LETTUCE, L. sativa, is thought to be derived from L. serriola (Moore et al. 1976). Cattle have been poisoned by eating large quantities of the young growth (Kingsbury 1964). (serriola: possibly from Latin: serrula , a small saw, referring to the toothed leaves, or a corruption of scariola, an old name for wild lettuce)