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Prickly Lettuce

Lactuca serriola

Plant Data

Order:
Asterales
Family:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Flowering Months:
JAN  FEB  MAR  APR  MAY  JUN  JUL  AUG  SEP  OCT  NOV  DEC
Flowers:
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.
Maximum Size:
2 meters tall.
Foraging Notes:
The bitter-tasting leaves can be eaten, raw or cooked. The young shoots can be eaten cooked and are a good substitute for asparagus.
Never consume a wild plant unless you are 100% certain that it is safe to eat and you know that you have identified it correctly.
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.
Habitats:
Roadsides, sand dunes, walls, wasteland.