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Lactuca indica - L.

Common Name Indian 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 Grassy places in lowland all over Japan[58]. This report refers to the sub-species L. indica laciniata. (O.Kuntze.)Hard.
Range E. Asia.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Lactuca indica Indian Lettuce


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Dalgial
Lactuca indica Indian Lettuce
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Dalgial

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Lactuca indica is a PERENNIAL growing to 1.2 m (4ft). 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

L. amurensis. L. laciniata. L. saligna.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Stem
Edible Uses:

Leaves - raw or cooked[61, 177]. Added to salads or soups[183]. The leaves contain about 1.5% protein, 0.4% fat, 2.2% carbohydrate, 0.7% ash[179]. Stem - cooked[179]. It contains 0.6% protein, 0.1% fat, 2.1% carbohydrate, 0.5% ash[179].

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.
Digestive  Tonic

The plant is digestive and tonic[61]. Although we have seen no specific reports for this species, most if not all members of the genus have a milky sap that contains the substance 'lactucarium' and can probably be used as the report below details[K]. 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, 213, 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. We do not know how hardy this plant will be in Britain, though it can be grown here as an annual. It takes about 60 days from seed sowing until the first leaves are harvested[200]. This species is sometimes cultivated for its edible leaves in Asia[183, 200]. It originated in China but is now cultivated in many parts of S.E. Asia[200].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Propagation

Seed - sow early spring in a warm greenhouse, only just covering the seed. Germination is usually rapid, prick out the seedlings when large enough to handle and plant them out after the last expected frosts[200]. Division in spring. Make sure each piece of root has a leaf bud[200]. Root cuttings in late winter[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

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 canadensisCanada LettuceBiennial3.0 -  LMSNM23 
Lactuca capensis Perennial0.5 -  LMSNM12 
Lactuca debilis Perennial0.0 -  LMSNM32 
Lactuca formosana  0.0 -  LMSNM12 
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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Author

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Botanical References

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Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Lo   Fri Jul 29 17:58:18 2005

how can you get the seed to germinate?

Archana Bhagwan Kharat   Fri Oct 8 12:13:24 2004

A very informative and collective information, great site.

Can u just let us know about the availability of the marker compounds Lactucain C and Lactucaside obtained from this plant.

All the best.

Archana Kharat (Research Coordinator)

For Vedic Lifesciences, An Herbal Clinical Reasearch Organization at Andheri, Mumbai, India.

Website: www.vediclifesciences.com e-mail: vedic@ayuherbal.com

Herbalist88   Tue May 15 2007

Lo- It's a weed. Put the seeds in the ground, put some water on it, and then let it grow. Simple, no?

   Feb 19 2012 12:00AM

I've been growing something we call Lactuca indica for years. It came originally from ECHO, though I hear they do not produce seeds of this plant any more. It is an annual, contrary to information in this article. It looks a bit different than the picture too, with the leaves not being toothed. It is about as cold-hardy as the cultivated lettuces - that is tolerant of frosts, especially in humid weather, but damaged by hard freezes, especially with dry air. We grow it in the warm season in Florida. We can only grow cultivated lettuces in the cool season. It's a little tougher than cultivated lettuces, and a bit bitter, but the taste is fairly lettuce-like, and I don't notice the bitterness in salads, after mixing with other salad materials and dressing. It can also be used in cooked dishes, such as quiche and stir-fries, young stems too.

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