Prickly Lettuce

Lactuca serriola

Wild Lettuce 4

Wild lettuce, otherwise known as Lactuca serriola, is a small weed that grows in most of North America. Wild lettuce has small yellow Ligulate florets, which means there is a tiny stem in-between the flower and the plant. It also has achenes, which are little seeds imbedded in the leaf. Wild lettuce can range from 2 to 4ft tall. It is a winter annual, and has prickly leaves. Lactuca serriola came to America as an agricultural weed. It lives anywhere under 7,500 ft. It spreads over most of North America, but especially in the southwest.
Lactuca serriola is used in some foods, such as salads. The best time to harvest the leaves of wild lettuce before it flowers and when the leaves are light green light green. The darker the leaves are, the bitterer they are. The leaves and shoots are the most used parts of the plant. Boiling the leaves will help reduce the bitterness. Wild lettuce is a bit on the bitter side, but is still good salad material.
Wild lettuce is a very good medicinal plant. Wild lettuce is used in tinctures and teas, at a1:5 alcohol ratio. It is a bit on the weak side, but you can mix it with other herbs such as valerian to help it. It is used to help with sleep (when mixed with Poppy), muscle and joint pain (when mixed with Cohosh), and used for wakefulness (when mixed with Valerian).
Lactuca serriola is used for many different things including food, muscle pain, tinctures, and teas. Basic facts of the plant:
• prickly leaves and stem
• yellow flowers
• it can be 2-4ft tall
• its leaves are 2-10in big.
What I learned from my research was how many uses it has, its tincturing abilities, and when to harvest. It I continued my research, I would learn more about the lettuce family.


Whitson, Tom, Larry C Burrill, Steven A Dewey, B.E. Nelson, Richard D Lee,
Robert Parker, Daniel A Bell, Dave Cudney, Steven A Dewey, Clyde L
Elmore, Rodney G Lym, Don W Morishita, Robert Parker, Dean G Swan,
Tom D whitson, Richard K Zollinger. (2009). Weeds of the West.
The Western Society of Weed Science, Western United States Land
Grant Universities. Jackson, WY.

Moore, Michael. (1941). Medicinal Plants of the Canyon West. Museum of New
Mexico Press. Santa Fe, NM.

Thayer, Samuel. (2010). Natures Garden. Foragers Harvest Press. Birchwood,

by Jonas, age 12

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  2. (c) albuquerqueherbalism, all rights reserved, uploaded by albuquerqueherbalism,
  3. (c) albuquerqueherbalism, all rights reserved, uploaded by albuquerqueherbalism,
  4. Adapted by albuquerqueherbalism from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),

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