Scientific Name: Lactuca sativa

Common Name: garden lettuce

Synonyms: Lactuca scariola var. integrata

Habit: Lactuca sativa is an upright non-woody herb. It can reach a height of 3ft.

Leaves: The leaves are arranged in a basal rosette. They are typically about 15cm long and green. The leaf edges are usually entire (no lobes).

Identifying Characteristics: There are many different cultivars of Garden lettuce due to its ability to be a food crop. These different cultivate may have different characteristics (stiff or lobed leaves). Unlike other members of the Lactuca genus, the mid ribs of Latuca sativa are usually not prickly. Like other members of the Lactuca genus it emits a milky sap.

Flower Seed Head: The flowers are usually yellow, sometimes with a streak of purple. If grown as a crop you do not want the plant to flower or "bolt" because this usually means the crop will have a bitter or undesirable taste.

Seed Fruit: Seed heads are achenes (small dry fruits with one seed that do not split open). They have white beaks that attach to the achenes.

Where Found: While it can be considered a weed, it is commonly a crop planted for food.

  • Life cycle: winter annual

  • Milky sap: Present

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Asteraceae

  • Leaf arrangement: rosette

  • Leaf shape: oval

  • Ochrea: Not Present

  • Leaf margin: entire

  • Stem hairs: no hairs

  • Flower color: yellow

  • Growth habit: upright and nonwoody

  • Stem: round or oval

  • Leaf structure: simple

  • Leaf hairs: no hairs

  • Flower diameter: dime; pencil; nickle

  • Flower symmetry: radial symetery

  • Root structure: taproot

  • Leaf stalk: none