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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)
Type:
Flower
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  
Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map