woodland lettuce

(Lactuca floridana var. floridana)

Conservation Status
woodland lettuce
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5? - Secure

SH - Possibly Extirpated

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

FAC - Facultative

     
  Midwest

FACU - Facultative upland

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Woodland lettuce is a 2 to 6½ tall, erect, annual or biennial with a thick, deep taproot. The stems and leaves contain a milky latex.

The stems are leafy and hairless.

The alternate leaves are toothed and are lobed halfway or more to the midrib but not reaching the midrib. The base of the leaf is not arrow-shaped. The terminal segments are often triangular. They are on leaf stalks and are up to 3 to 12 long and 1 to 8 wide. The midvein on the underside is often hairy.

The inflorescence is an open-branched cluster.

The flower heads are about across and have 10 to 25, usually 10 to 15, light blue or, sometimes, whitish ray florets.

The fruit is a brown achene with fluffy, white bristles attached to the tip.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

2 to 6½

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Light blue, sometimes whitish ray florets

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Canada lettuce (Lactuca canadensis) has yellow flowers.

Prairie lettuce (Lactuca ludoviciana) has stemless, sessile or clasping leaves.

Prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola) has yellow flowers. The leaves have prickles on the leaf margins and on the underside of the midvein.

The blue species of Lactuca are extremely variable and identifying characteristics overlap, factors which, taken together, make the species difficult to separate.

Showy blue lettuce (Lactuca tatarica ssp. pulchella) has large, showy flower heads that measure, ¾ across.

Tall blue lettuce (Lactuca biennis) has stemless, clasping leaves. It has a tighter inflorescence and tends to be more leafy than woodland lettuce. The flower heads usually have 20 to 30 ray florets. The achene has grayish-brown bristles attached to the tip.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Moist. Thickets, woods, open places

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

June to September

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 7, 28.

 
  1/5/2012      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  
 

Order

Asterales (sunflowers, bellflowers, fanflowers, and allies)  
 

Family

Asteraceae (sunflowers, daisies, asters, and allies)  
  Subfamily Cichorioideae (chicories, dandelions, and allies)  
  Tribe Cichorieae  
  Subtribe Lactucinae  
  Genus Lactuca (lettuce)  
  Species Lactuca floridana (woodland lettuce)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

There are two varieties of Lactuca floridana. Only var. floridana occurs in Minnesota.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Lactuca floridana

Lactuca floridana var. villosa

Lactuca villosa

Mulgedium floridanum

Mulgedium villosum

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

Florida blue lettuce

Florida lettuce

wild lettuce

woodland lettuce

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Achene

A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed entirely from the wall of the superior ovary, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.

 

Clasping

Describing a leaf that wholly or partly surrounds the stem but does not fuse at the base.

 

Sessile

Stalkless; attached at the base without a petiole, peduncle, pedicel, or stalk.

       
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Plant

  woodland lettuce    
       

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  woodland lettuce    
       

Infructescence

  woodland lettuce    
       
       

 

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