Lactuca virosa


Common Names: Wild lettuce, bitter lettuce, opium lettuce, poisonous lettuce, tall lettuce, great lettuce, laitue vireuse, rakutu-karyumu-so
Category: Plants
Sub-category: Lettuces


It is related to common lettuce (L. sativa). Generally an annual, although an occasional biennial, wild lettuce grows to 7 feet and has a pale green central stalk that is sometimes spotted with purple. The erect stem, springing from a brown tap-root, is smooth and pale green, sometimes spotted with purple. There are a few prickles on the lower part and short horizontal branches above. The numerous, large, radical leaves are from 6 to 18 inches long, entire, and obovate-oblong. The stem leaves are scanty, alternate, and small, clasping the stem with two small lobes. The heads are numerous and shortly-stalked, and the pale-yellow corolla are strap-shaped. The rough, black fruit is oval, with a broad wing along the edge, and prolonged above into a long, white beak carrying silvery tufts of hair. The whole plant is rich in a milky latex that flows freely from any laceration.

Primary Flower Color: Yellow
Secondary Flower Color: Yellow
 
Edible Notes: Numerous reports of toxic effects when consumed. It is reported to be used medicinally as well as recreationally. Not recommended for consumption.
Warnings: Contains coumarins and other compounds that may have serious contraindications with prescription medicines.
Sightings