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Wild Lettuce, Canada Lettuce - Lactuca canadensis


Family: Asteraceae - Aster family Genus Common Name: Lettuce Native Status: Native
Lactuca canadensis - Wild Lettuce, Canada Lettuce. Tall plant with milky sap and yellow flowers. Leaves usually lobed, especially the lower leaves, but that is not always the case. Some authorities recognize multiple varieties, primarily based on leaf shape. Similar to non-native species Lactuca serrata, but that plant has prickles on the foliage.

Akin to garden lettuce, the young leaves are edible either in salads or cooked; slightly bitter.

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Lactuca canadensis

Distribution of Lactuca canadensis in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 24 Jul 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Walker County, Ga Date: 2009-July-30Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Lactuca canadensis has small 1/4" - 1/2" yellow blossoms with ray flowers only.
Lactuca canadensis

Site: Walker County, Ga Date: 2009-July-30Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Wild Lettuce' flower cluster is pretty tight when it first forms.
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Lactuca canadensis

Site: Walker County, Ga Date: 2009-July-30Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
The flower cluster broadens significantly as it matures.
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Lactuca canadensis

Site: Walker County, Ga Date: 2009-July-30Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Upper leaves and stem of Lactuca canadensis. When broken, the leaves and stem exude a milky sap, which turns brown. Some herbalists use it to make a sedative.
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Lactuca canadensis

Site: Walker County, Ga Date: 2009-July-30Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Lower leaves and stem of Wild lettuce. Most varieties of L. canadensis have lobed leaves, similar to a dandelion's. On this colony, most of the leaves were lanceolate or obovate, but the lowest few leaves were lobed.
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Lactuca canadensis

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer