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Prickly Lettuce, China Lettuce - Lactuca serriola


Family: Asteraceae - Aster family Genus Common Name: Lettuce Native Status: IntroducedDicot Annual Biennial Herb
Lactuca serriola - Prickly Lettuce, China Lettuce. A species introduced from Eurasia, this plant has established itself in every state except for Alaska

Found in:
AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

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Lactuca serriola

Distribution of Lactuca serriola 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, 11 Dec 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Downtown Chattanooga, TN Date: 2010-May-20Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D60
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
Prickly Lettuce is one of the lettuces with yellow blossoms. Each blossom is usually less than 1/2 inch across.
Lactuca serriola

Site: Downtown Chattanooga, TN Date: 2010-May-20Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
It is clear from this photo the reason for “prickly” in the common name.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Lactuca serriola

Site: Downtown Chattanooga, TN Date: 2010-May-20Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
The leaves of Lactuca serriola is pinnately lobed.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Lactuca serriola

Site: Downtown Chattanooga, TN Date: 2010-May-20Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
Prickly lettuce grows from 2 to 7 feet tall, and is usually unbranched until the upper part of the plant where the blossoms form. It's ability to establish itself where there is little soil and in other harsh conditions explains its wide distribution. Here it is growing out of a crack between a sidewalk and an old building.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Lactuca serriola

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