Wild Lettuce (Lactuca canadensis)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Wild Lettuce
Give a thumbs up Tall Lettuce
Give a thumbs up Tall Wild Lettuce
Give a thumbs up Canada Lettuce

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Biennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Plant Height: up to 8 feet
Leaves: Other: alternate, stalkless
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Summer
Uses: Medicinal Herb
Pollinators: Various insects
Containers: Not suitable for containers

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Comments:
Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Jul 15, 2016 12:13 PM

Lactuca canadensis is called Wild Lettuce around here (central Illinois). This wildflower/weed can grow up to 8 feet tall. It's a smooth-skinned biennial that has a milky tannish sap. It becomes multi-branched at the top, where numerous, small (less than a half-inch across) flower heads occur. Each head is composed of 15 to 22 yellow petal-like ray flowers surrounding a central disk. Flowers appear from July through September. The flower and seed heads look like diminutive dandelions. Seed distribution is wind borne, just like the dandelion. It can colonize densely.
Leaves are stalkless and arranged alternately. They may attain a length of 12 inches by 6 inches wide, though usually smaller, and vary from deeply lobed to rounded.
Habitats where found include dry open woodlands, savannas, prairies, pastures, and disturbed ground.
Native Indians used the milky sap to treat skin eruptions. Crushed leaves were used on insect bites. A root tea served to treat diarrhea, heart and lung problems, bleeding, and nausea, and as a pain reliever. A leaf tea was used to hasten milk flow after childbirth by both Indians and early settlers.

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Posted by RadlyRootbound (East-Central Mississippi - Zone 8a) on Jun 28, 2018 1:59 AM

Lactuca canadensis is said to reach "up to" eight feet tall, however it can grow taller, as I have a strictly volunteer specimen that is at least ten feet in late June, so it may grow even taller. This is natural growth, with no fertilizer of any sort used to boost its size. I will monitor it and get an exact measurement when it reaches its peak, and post the results here.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Plant ID by Munom Jul 10, 2018 7:02 PM 5
What plant is this? by Fullergarden May 24, 2017 9:53 AM 1
What a tall wildflower.. by Treeme Aug 29, 2016 2:25 PM 9
Hieracium; growing wild by flaflwrgrl Sep 10, 2015 11:22 AM 114
(Lactuca); for ID by wildflowers Aug 4, 2015 4:53 PM 13
Any ideas? by threegardeners Jul 5, 2013 2:47 AM 27
And yet another by flaflwrgrl May 20, 2012 7:27 PM 14

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