|Lactuca saligna by Jacob Sturm, 1796|
Lactuca saligna is a species of wild lettuce known by the common name Willowleaf lettuce, and Least lettuce. It is native to Eurasia but it grows in many other places as an introduced species, including much of North America.
It can be found rarely in south-east England on dry banks near the sea and estuaries.
This is an annual herb growing from a taproot to heights between one half and one meter, and occasionally taller. It is much slenderer than Great Lettuce Lactuca virosa and Prickly lettuce Lactuca serriola. The spindly, mainly erect stem has bristles on its lower portion. The leaves are generally lance-shaped with a few vague lobes and coarse teeth, and their midveins are bristly. The top part of the stem is occupied by a narrow inflorescence. The branches may be appressed, that is, growing upward parallel to each other, or they may branch outward. The flower head is up to about 4 centimeters wide when open, with rectangular pale yellow ray florets with toothed tips. The fruit is a spiny-ribbed dark brown achene almost a centimeter long with a long white pappus(cypselae).
It flowers from July to August.
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