Lactuca saligna

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Willowleaf lettuce
Lactuca saligna Sturm46.jpg
Lactuca saligna by Jacob Sturm, 1796
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Lactuca
Species: L. saligna
Binomial name
Lactuca saligna
L. 1753[1]

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.[2][3][4]

It can be found rarely in south-east England on dry banks near the sea and estuaries.


Lactuca saligna is an annual herb growing from a taproot to heights between one half and one meter (20-40 inches), 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 very long and narrow, up to 15 cm (6 inches) long but rarely than one centimeter (0.4 inches) wide, usually with no lobes and no teeth. The top part of the stem is occupied by a narrow inflorescence. The branches may be pressed against the main stem, that is, or they may branch outward. The flower head is up to about 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) wide when open, with rectangular pale yellow ray florets with toothed tips. There are no disc florets. The fruit is a spiny-ribbed dark brown achene almost a centimeter (0.4 inches) long with a long white pappus(cypselae).[5]

Lactuca saligna flowers from July to August in Britain.[6]


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