From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lactuca tuberosa
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Cichorioideae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Subtribe: Lactucinae
Genus: Lactuca
  • Agathyrsus D. Don
  • Bunioseris Jord.
  • Cephalorrhynchus Boiss.
  • Cyanoseris (W.D.J.Koch) Schur
  • Lactucella Nazarova
  • Lactucopsis Schultz Bipontinus ex Visiani
  • Lagedium Soják
  • Mulgedium Cassini
  • Mycelis Cass.
  • Phaenixopus Cassini
  • Phoenicopus Spach
  • Pterocypsela C. Shih
  • Scariola F. W. Schmidt
  • Wiestia Sch.Bip.

Lactuca, commonly known as lettuce, is a genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. The genus includes at least 50 species, distributed worldwide, but mainly in temperate Eurasia.

Its best-known representative is the garden lettuce (Lactuca sativa), with its many varieties. "Wild lettuce" commonly refers to the wild-growing relatives of common garden lettuce. Many species are common weeds. Lactuca species are diverse and take a wide variety of forms. They are annuals, biennials, perennials, or shrubs.[2] Their flower heads have yellow, blue, or white ray florets. Some species are bitter-tasting.

Most wild lettuces are xerophytes, adapted to dry habitat types. Some occur in more moist areas, such as the mountains of central Africa.[2]


Wild lettuce (Lactuca virosa) by Otto Wilhelm Thome in Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz, 1885
Prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola)
Lactuca tenerrima
Lactuca serriola
Lactuca tatarica

There are different concepts of the species within Lactuca. It is not clear how many distinct species are known, and estimates vary from 50[3] to 75[4] so far.

Species include:[3][4][5][6]


Lactuca species are used as food plants by the larvae of many Lepidoptera species.


'Lactuca' is derived from Latin and means 'having milky sap'. 'Lactuca' and 'lactic' (of or relating to milk) have the same root word, 'lactis'.[20]


  1. ^ "Lactuca L." Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 21 March 2024.
  2. ^ a b Lebeda, Aleš; Dolezalová, Ivana; Feráková, Viera; Astley, Dave (2004). "Geographical Distribution of Wild Lactuca Species (Asteraceae, Lactuceae)". The Botanical Review. 70 (3): 328–356. doi:10.1663/0006-8101(2004)070[0328:GDOWLS]2.0.CO;2.
  3. ^ a b Lactuca. Flora of China.
  4. ^ a b Lactuca. Flora of North America.
  5. ^ GRIN Species Records of Lactuca. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).
  6. ^ Lactuca. The Plant List. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Missouri Botanical Garden.
  7. ^ "Cicerbita alpina". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  8. ^ Lactuca attenuata. Flora Zambesiaca. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  9. ^ Bano, R. and M. Qaiser. (2011). A taxonomic revision of the genus Lactuca L. (Cichorieae-Asteraceae) from Pakistan and Kashmir. Pakistan Journal of Botany 43(5) 2259–268.
  10. ^ Lactuca homblei. Flora Zambesiaca. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  11. ^ Lactuca imbricata. Flora Zambesiaca. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  12. ^ Lactuca lasiorhiza. Flora Zambesiaca. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  13. ^ Lactuca mwinilungensis. Flora Zambesiaca. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  14. ^ Lactuca nana. Flora Zambesiaca. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  15. ^ Santos Guerra, A. (2011). "Lactuca palmensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2011: e.T172087A6821101. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-1.RLTS.T172087A6821101.en. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  16. ^ Draper Munt, D. (2011). "Lactuca singularis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2011: e.T172180A6844238. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-1.RLTS.T172180A6844238.en. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  17. ^ Kilian, N. (2001). Lactuca stebbinsii (Lactuceae, Compositae), a puzzling new species from Angola.[permanent dead link] Willdenowia - Annals of the Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin - Dahlem 31(1) 71–8.
  18. ^ Kyratzis, A.; Christodoulou, C.S.; Kailis, C.; Papasavvas, C.; Tsintides, T. (2011). "Lactuca tetrantha". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2011: e.T172257A6858989. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-1.RLTS.T172257A6858989.en. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  19. ^ Schaefer, H. (2011). "Lactuca watsoniana". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2011: e.T161995A5525315. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-1.RLTS.T161995A5525315.en. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  20. ^ Gledhill, David (2008). "The Names of Plants". Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521866453 (hardback), ISBN 9780521685535 (paperback). pp 228

External links[edit]