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Celtuce stems & heads
Species Lactuca sativa var. augustana
Cultivar 'Celtuce'
Origin Mediterranean region

Celtuce (Lactuca sativa var. augustana,[1][2][3] angustata, or asparagina), also called stem lettuce,[4] celery lettuce, asparagus lettuce,[5] or Chinese lettuce, IPA (UK,US) /ˈsɛlt.əs/. It is a cultivar of lettuce grown primarily for its thick stem,[5] or its leaves. It is used as a vegetable, and is especially popular in Taiwan,[2] and China, where it is called wosun,[5] (Chinese: ; pinyin: wōsǔn),[6] or woju (Chinese: ; pinyin: wōjù) (although the latter name may also be used to mean lettuce in general). In the south of China, it is also called (Chinese: ; pinyin: yóu mài cài) or ‘ou sen’.[7]

The pale green leaves,[5] which are tender,[2] and white stems,[4] can be eaten raw (in salads) or cooked. It can be pickled, grilled, roasted, or stir-fried.[5][4] It is mild but nutty, with a slight smoky aftertaste.[5][6] It is high in vitamins.[4]

It is thought to have come from the Mediterranean region and then brought to China during Tang Dynasty,[6] about A.D. 600-900.[7]

It can be grown from seed, sown from April and May. Into a set bed or a temporary nursery bed and then transplanted to the growing site. They should be spread 30cm apart each way. The young (edible) leaves are ready about 4-5 weeks after planting and the edible stems are ready when about 30cm tall, they are usually harvested between July and September.[4]

The plant can suffer from aphid attack.[7]

Celtuce (foreground) for sale in Lhasa
Celtuce, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 75 kJ (18 kcal)
3.65 g
Dietary fiber 1.7 g
0.3 g
0.85 g
Vitamin A equiv.
175 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.055 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.07 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.55 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.183 mg
Vitamin B6
0.05 mg
Folate (B9)
46 μg
Vitamin C
19.5 mg
39 mg
0.55 mg
28 mg
0.688 mg
39 mg
330 mg
11 mg
0.27 mg

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

The stem is usually harvested at a length of around 15–20 cm and a diameter of around 3–4 cm. It is crisp, moist, and mildly flavored, and typically prepared by slicing and then stir frying with more strongly flavored ingredients.

Lechuga china o wosun
Lechuga china o wosun (2)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stanley J. Kays Cultivated Vegetables of the World: A Multilingual Onomasticon, p. 658, at Google Books
  2. ^ a b c Masatoshi Yamaguchi World Vegetables: Principles, Production and Nutritive Values, p. 208, at Google Books
  3. ^ Caroline Foley How to Plant Your Allotment, p. 51, at Google Books
  4. ^ a b c d e "Celtuce or Stem Lettuce". kingsseeds.com. Retrieved 28 January 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Nosowitz, Dan (29 April 2016). "Meet The Vegetable: Celtuce, a Mutant and Delicious Lettuce ..on". modernfarmer.com. Retrieved 28 January 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c "Celtuce ribbon salad". soyricefire.com. 21 April 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c "Celtuce, 'Wo Sun'". seedaholic.com. Retrieved 28 January 2017.