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Lactuca scariola - Plant

Note: The image is for reference purpose only. The actual product may vary in shape or appearance based on climate, age, height etc.
Prickly Lettuce is an annual or biennial plant, slightly foetid, that is commonly considered a weed of orchards, roadsides and field crops.
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Lactuca scariola Plant

Description for Lactuca scariola

Plant height: 3 - 6 inches
Plant spread:

This name is a synonym of Lactuca serriola L. Lactuca serriola, also called prickly lettuce, is an annual or biennial plant in the dandelion tribe within the daisy family. The leaves grow along a spiny stem and get progressively smaller as they reach its top. They emit latex when cut.

Many flowers are produced and usually appear in the upper part of the plant. It has a hairless reddish stem, containing a milky latex. The achenes are grey, bristly tipped. The pappus is white with equal length hairs.

Common name(s): Prickly Lettuce, compass plant, bankahoo, kaahu, saaleet
Flower colours: Pale yellow, often tinged purple
Bloom time: July to September
Max reachable height: 2 to 6 feet
Difficulty to grow: Easy to grow

Planting and care

This is a weed throughout temperate regions. It can hwoever be harvested and eaten, although it is somewhat bitter. Enjoys a full sun or partial sun position in your garden. Keep in mind when planting that Prickly Lettuce is thought of as hardy, so this plant will survive close to or on freezing temperatures.

Sunlight: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Soil: Light sandy loam well-drained soil
Water: Medium
Temperature: 30 degrees C
Fertilizer: Apply any organic fertilizer

Caring for Lactuca scariola

  • Start with pruning shears for smaller growth.
  • Use loppers, which look like giant, long-handle shears, for growth that is more than half an inch thick.
  • A small pruning saw is handy, as it cuts on both the push and the pull.

Typical uses of Lactuca scariola

Special features: Prefers a light sandy loam in a sunny position. The wild lettuce is cultivated for the oil in its seed in Egypt. A compass plant, the top leaves align north-south.

Culinary use: Lactuca serriola can be eaten as a salad, although it has something of a bitter taste. Young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked.

Ornamental use: The plant is used for an ornamental purpose.


  • Survival and Self Sufficiency. AU. Retrieved 9 September 2011.

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