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Prickly Lettuce

Lactuca serriola

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.

Plant Data

Flowering Months:
JAN  FEB  MAR  APR  MAY  JUN  JUL  AUG  SEP  OCT  NOV  DEC
Order:
Asterales
Family:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Also in this family:
Annual Sunflower, Autumn Hawkbit, Beaked Hawksbeard, Black Knapweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Blue Fleabane, Blue Globe-thistle, Bristly Oxtongue, Butterbur, Buttonweed, Canadian Fleabane, Canadian Goldenrod, Carline Thistle, Chalk Knapweed, Coltsfoot, Common Blue Sow-thistle, Common Cat's-ear, Common Daisy, Common Dandelion, Common Fleabane, Common Goldenrod, Common Groundsel, Common Michaelmas Daisy, Common Mugwort, Common Ragwort, Confused Michaelmas Daisy, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Creeping Thistle, Dwarf Thistle, Early Goldenrod, Feverfew, Fox and Cubs, Gallant Soldier, Garden Lettuce, Goat's Beard, Great Lettuce, Greater Burdock, Greater Knapweed, Grey-headed Hawkweed, Heath Groundsel, Hemp Agrimony, Hoary Ragwort, Lavender-cotton, Leopardsbane, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Hawkbit, Marsh Cudweed, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, Mexican Fleabane, Mountain Everlasting, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Musk Thistle, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, New England Hawkweed, Nipplewort, Oxeye Daisy, Oxford Ragwort, Perennial Cornflower, Perennial Sow-thistle, Pineapple Mayweed, Ploughman's Spikenard, Pot Marigold, Prickly Sow-thistle, Red-seeded Dandelion, Rough Hawkbit, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Sea Aster, Sea Mayweed, Seaside Daisy, Shaggy Soldier, Shasta Daisy, Shrub Ragwort, Silver Ragwort, Smooth Hawksbeard, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Sticky Groundsel, Tansy, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tyneside Leopardplant, Wall Lettuce, White Buttons, Winter Heliotrope, Wood Burdock, Yarrow
Type:
Flower
Life Cycle:
Biennial
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Habitats:
Roadsides, sand dunes, walls, wasteland.

Flower:
֍
Yellow, many petals
 
Dandelion-like. Small, yellow and loosely clustered with bracts sometimes tinged purple.
Fruit:
Small, pale brown, single seed with a pappus.
Leaves:
Greyish leaves. The upper leaves clasp the stem. Slightly spiny and with sharper prickles on the midribs below the leaves. The plant is sometimes known as the 'compass plant' because of the way the leaves twist around in the sun.
Aroma:
Smells earthy, like a strong-smelling garden lettuce.
Other Names:
China Lettuce, Chinese Lettuce, Compass Plant, English Thistle, Horse Thistle, Lettuce Opium, Milk Thistle, Wild Lettuce, Wild Opium.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  
Similar Species:
Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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