woodland lettuce

(Lactuca floridana var. floridana)

Conservation Status
woodland lettuce
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5? - Secure

SH - Possibly Extirpated


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FAC - Facultative


FACU - Facultative upland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


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.




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.


Moist. Thickets, woods, open places




June to September




Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 7, 28.









  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  


Asterales (sunflowers, bellflowers, fanflowers, and allies)  


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.




Lactuca floridana

Lactuca floridana var. villosa

Lactuca villosa

Mulgedium floridanum

Mulgedium villosum


Common Names


Florida blue lettuce

Florida lettuce

wild lettuce

woodland lettuce












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.



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



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

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  woodland lettuce    


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