Lactuca virosa   Great Lettuce C DD N?

Lactuca virosa Lactuca virosa

This 2m tall plant was conveniently growing next to Lactuca serriola (Prickly Lettuce) so the difference between the two was obvious. On the plants we saw, L. virosa has distinctly lobed and wavy edged leaves while L. serriola's leaves were completely without lobes or any waviness although often L. serriola does have pinnately lobed leaves. The leaves of L. virosa had a maroon tinge to them absent in L. serriola.

The flowers don't often open as in L. serriola so this flower head, taken on a very hot day when they would surely have opened if so inclined, is probably as good as you'll find in the UK.

Only occasionally recorded in the first part of the 20th century, L. virosa is now common throughout the midlands, south and east of England. It is occasionally found in Wales and the west and in Scotland but is absent from Ireland.

Edge of Pond on Wimbledon Common 30th June 2006

Added on 4th July 2006, updated 2nd March 2010

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