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Florida Lettuce Lactuca floridana


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Florida Lettuce - flower and fruit
credit: Alan Cressler/CCSA

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Alternate name: False Lettuce, Woodland Lettuce

Family: Asteraceae, Aster view all from this family

Description Native annual or biennial.
Habit: thin and weedy; erect, smooth, leafy stems with milky sap.
Height: 10 in-6.5 ft (25-200 cm) or more.
Leaf: mostly basal, resembling dandelion leaf; hairy, deeply lobed at the base; triangular above; to 10 in (250 mm) long.
Flower: tiny, daisy-like, pale blue to pale purple (rarely white), 1/2 in (12 mm) wide; 10-25+ long thin rays; with vertical stamens and insignificant disk; held in branched, loose cluster of many flowerheads.
Fruit: dry brown seed on wispy white parachute.

Flower June to October.

Habitat Open, moist to wet places; rich woods and thickets, woodland edges, and clearings.

Range Native to central and eastern North America, from Manitoba, Ontario, New York and Massachusetts; south to Florida, west to Texas, and north to South Dakota and Minnesota; 30-650 ft (10-200 m).

Discussion Also known as: woodland lettuce, Florida blue lettuce, Florida wild lettuce, blue lettuce, blue wood lettuce, etc. Although it is listed as threatened or endangered in Michigan and New York, it is considered weedy or invasive in some areas. All Latuca sp. are cousins of the common garden lettuce, Latuca sativa. Several have blue flower heads, among them a more western species, Large-flowered Blue Lettuce (L. pulchella), with larger and fewer flower heads than this species and foliage covered with white waxy bloom. Tall Blue Lettuce (L. biennis), found from southern Canada south to North Carolina and west to Iowa, has crowded clusters of flower heads and tan fruit bristles.