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Lactuca pulchella - (Pursh.)DC.

Common Name Blue 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 Medium-dry to moist soils in fields, thickets of prairies, valleys and in mountains to 2,100 metres[212].
Range N. America - Alaska to Minnesota, south to Missouri, New Mexico and California.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Lactuca pulchella Blue Lettuce


http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamieanderson/
Lactuca pulchella Blue Lettuce
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. Vol. 3: 320.

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Lactuca pulchella is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in). 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. tatarica pulchella. (Pursh.)Breitung.

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves
Edible Uses: Gum

Young leaves - raw or cooked[85, 212]. A gum obtained from the roots is used for chewing[161, 177, 212, 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.
Astringent  Poultice

An infusion of the roots and stems has been given to children in the treatment of diarrhoea[257]. A poultice of the plants has been applied to piles[257]. Although we have seen no other 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

Gum

None known

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a light sandy loam[1]. This species is considered to be a noxious weed in N. America where it spreads freely by suckers in cultivated ground - even a small portion of the root can regenerate to form a new plant[212].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow April in a greenhouse, only just covering the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring. Root cuttings in spring[K].

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 canadensisCanada LettuceBiennial3.0 -  LMSNM23 
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 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

(Pursh.)DC.

Botanical References

43235

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Subject : Lactuca pulchella  
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