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Uses

Toxic parts

Poisonous[1][2]. Cases of poisoning caused by this plant have only been recorded very rarely[3].

Edible uses

Notes

Leaves - raw or cooked[4]. Very tender[5]. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. A mild flavoured oil, used in cooking, is obtained from the seeds[6].

Leaves

Unknown part

Oil

Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Lactuca virosa.

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[6]. The sap contains 'lactucarium', which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties[7][8][9][10][11][12][13]. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets[6], nor is it addictive[1]. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc[13]. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower[13]. 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[6]. This species is probably the richest supply of lactucarium[6]. The plant also contains 'hyoscyamine', a powerful depressant of the parasympathetic nervous system[12]. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used[7].

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[13] and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis[1][7]. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine[12]. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts[14].

A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant[7]. It is used in the treatment of chronic catarrh, coughs, swollen liver, flatulence and ailments of the urinary tract[7].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

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

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



Cultivation

Prefers a light sandy loam and a sunny position[15]. The wild lettuce is cultivated as a medicinal plant in many areas of Europe[6][9][16].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Lactuca virosa. 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 virosa.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Lactuca virosa
Genus
Lactuca
Family
Compositae
Imported References
Edible uses
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
6
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:Illustration Lactuca virosa0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Illustration Lactuca virosa0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


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    "image:Illustration Lactuca virosa0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Illustration Lactuca virosa0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Illustration Lactuca virosa0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Illustration Lactuca virosa0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Illustration Lactuca virosa0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Illustration Lactuca virosa0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Illustration Lactuca virosa0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Illustration Lactuca virosa0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.






    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.21.3 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
    2. ? Stary. F. Poisonous Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-35666-3 (1983-00-00)
    3. ? Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Larkcom. J. Salads all the Year Round. Hamlyn (1980-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.1 Mabey. R. Food for Free. Collins ISBN 0-00-219060-5 (1974-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.16.26.36.46.56.66.7 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.27.37.47.5 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.19.2 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.1 Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
    11. ? 11.011.1 Emboden. W. Narcotic Plants Studio Vista ISBN 0-289-70864-8 (1979-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.112.212.3 Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food. Ballantine Books ISBN 0-449-90589-6 (1980-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.113.213.313.4 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.1 Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
    15. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    16. ? Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    17. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)

    "image:Illustration Lactuca virosa0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    Facts about "Lactuca virosa"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familyCompositae +
    Belongs to genusLactuca +
    Has binomial nameLactuca virosa +
    Has common nameWild Lettuce +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partLeaves + and Unknown part +
    Has edible useUnknown use + and Oil +
    Has fertility typeInsects +
    Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
    Has hardiness zone6 +
    Has imageIllustration Lactuca virosa0.jpg +
    Has lifecycle typeAnnual + and Biennial +
    Has mature height1.8 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useAnodyne +, Antispasmodic +, Digestive +, Homeopathy +, Hypnotic +, Narcotic +, Sedative + and Tonic +
    Has primary imageIllustration Lactuca virosa0.jpg +
    Has search namelactuca virosa + and wild lettuce +
    Has shade toleranceNo shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy + and Loamy +
    Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy nameLactuca virosa +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF material use notes migratedYes +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF toxicity notes migratedNo +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
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