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Lactuca canadensis - L.

Common Name Canada Lettuce
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, many plants in this genus contain a narcotic principle, this is at its most concentrated when the plant begins to flower. This principle has been almost bred out of the cultivated forms of lettuce but is produced when the plant starts to go to seed[13].
Habitats Thickets, woodland borders and clearings[43]. Moist open places[235]. Usually found in sandy soils[274].
Range Eastern N. America - Nova Scotia to British Columbia, south to Georgia and Colorado.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Lactuca canadensis Canada Lettuce


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Lactuca canadensis Canada Lettuce
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Lactuca canadensis is a BIENNIAL growing to 3 m (9ft 10in). It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves
Edible Uses:

Young leaves and stems - raw or cooked[46, 55, 61, 85, 105, 177]. Cooked and eaten as greens[257].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Analgesic  Diuretic  Hypnotic  Nervine  Sedative  Warts

The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air[4]. The sap contains 'lactucarium', which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties[9, 21, 46, 165, 192, 207, 213, 222, 238]. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets[4], nor is it addictive[7]. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc[238]. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower[238]. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted[4]. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used[9]. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness[238] and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis[7, 9]. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine[213]. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts[222].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a light sandy loam[1]. Hybridizes in the wild with L. ludoviciana and the two species can sometimes be difficult to separate[274].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:

Fahrenheit:

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Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow spring in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Lactuca biennisTall Blue Lettuce 0.0 -  LMHSNM01 
Lactuca capensis Perennial0.5 -  LMSNM12 
Lactuca debilis Perennial0.0 -  LMSNM32 
Lactuca formosana  0.0 -  LMSNM12 
Lactuca indicaIndian LettucePerennial1.2 -  LMSNM32 
Lactuca indica dracoglossa Annual/Biennial1.0 -  LMSNM22 
Lactuca indica laciniata Perennial1.2 -  LMSNM32 
Lactuca ludovicianaWestern Wild Lettuce, Biannual lettuceBiennial1.2 0-0  LMSNM22 
Lactuca perennisPerennial LettucePerennial0.6 5-9  LMNDM32 
Lactuca pulchellaBlue LettucePerennial1.0 -  LMSNM22 
Lactuca quercinaWild LettuceAnnual/Biennial1.0 -  LMSNM23 
Lactuca raddeana Annual/Biennial0.6 -  LMSNM22 
Lactuca sativaLettuce, Garden lettuceAnnual/Biennial0.9 5-9  LMSNM331
Lactuca sativa angustanaCeltuceAnnual/Biennial0.6 5-9  LMSNM332
Lactuca sativa capitataCabbage LettuceAnnual/Biennial0.9 5-9  LMSNM332
Lactuca sativa crispaCutting LettuceAnnual/Biennial0.9 5-9  LMSNM332
Lactuca sativa longifoliaCos LettuceAnnual/Biennial0.9 5-9  LMSNM332
Lactuca serriolaPrickly LettuceBiennial1.5 6-9  LMNM232
Lactuca sibiricaPrickly lettucePerennial1.0 0-0  LMSNM22 
Lactuca triangulata Biennial/Perennial1.0 -  LMSNM12 
Lactuca virosaWild Lettuce, Bitter lettuceAnnual/Biennial1.8 5-9  LMNM13 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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Botanical References

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Subject : Lactuca canadensis  
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