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Uses

Toxic parts

The mature plant is mildly toxic[1].

Edible uses

Notes

Young leaves - raw or cooked[1][2][3]. A bitter flavour[4]. The young tender leaves are mild and make an excellent salad[5][6], but the whole plant becomes bitter as it gets older, especially when coming into flower[K]. As a potherb it needs very little cooking[5]. Large quantities can cause digestive upsets[3].

Young shoots - cooked. Used as an asparagus substitute[1].

An edible oil is obtained from the seed[7][8][9]. The oil must be refined before it is edible[10]. A pleasant flavour[10][5].

Leaves

Unknown part

Oil

Material uses

The seed contains 35.2% of a semi-drying oil[11]. It is used in soap making, paints, varnishes etc[10].

Unknown part

Oil

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air[12]. The sap contains 'lactucarium', which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties[13][14][7][15][16][17][18]. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets[12], nor is it addictive[19]. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc[18]. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower[18]. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted[12]. This species does not contain as much lactucarium as L. virosa[12]. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used[13].

The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness[18] and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis[19][13]. The fixed oil from the seeds is said to possess antipyretic and hypnotic properties[11].

A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant[13]. It is used in the treatment of chronic catarrh, coughs, swollen liver, flatulence and ailments of the urinary tract[13].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow spring in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Lactuca serriola. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Prefers a light sandy loam in a sunny position[20][1].

The wild lettuce is cultivated for the oil in its seed in Egypt[7][8].

A compass plant, the top leaves align north-south[21].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Lactuca serriola. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Lactuca serriola.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Lactuca serriola
Genus
Lactuca
Family
Compositae
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
7
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    ?
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    "image:Lactuca serriola Sturm45.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Lactuca serriola Sturm45.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


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    "image:Lactuca serriola Sturm45.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

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    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.21.31.4 Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-33545-3 (1975-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Harris. B. C. Eat the Weeds. Pivot Health (1973-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.13.2 Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants. Van Nostrand Reinhold ISBN 0442222009 (1982-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.25.3 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.1 Les Ecologistes de l'Euzi?re Les Salades Sauvages Not given. ISBN 2-906128-04-X (1994-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.27.37.4 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.18.2 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.110.210.310.4 Chakravarty. H. L. The Plant Wealth of Iraq. ()
    11. ? 11.011.111.211.3 Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.112.212.312.4 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.113.213.313.413.5 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    15. ? 15.015.1 Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
    16. ? 16.016.1 Emboden. W. Narcotic Plants Studio Vista ISBN 0-289-70864-8 (1979-00-00)
    17. ? 17.017.1 Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food. Ballantine Books ISBN 0-449-90589-6 (1980-00-00)
    18. ? 18.018.118.218.318.4 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    19. ? 19.019.119.2 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
    20. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    21. ? 21.021.1 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    22. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)

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