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Blue Lettuce - Lactuca tatarica
Family: Asteraceae

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Flowers May-August

Description

Blue lettuce is a tall perennial herb with showy blue flowers (2 cm across). The sap of this plant is milky. The leaves are alternate on the stem, lance-shapped and 5-18 mm long. Upper leaves are entire while leaves on the bottom are usually prominently toothed. The fruit is an achene with a black or brown seed.

Blue lettuce looks similar to hawksbeards, yet has a nice blue flower, which is fairly rare amoung plants in the sunflower family. This plant can be confused with Tall blue lettuce (Lactuca biennis), or Prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola) or Chicory (Chichorium intybus).

Interesting facts

The milky-sap from this plant (mentioned above), contains a medicinal compound called 'lactucarium'. It has been used for its pain-relieving, antispasmodic, digestive, urinatin-inducing, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative inducing properties If one injests the plant it is used to treat insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, and rheumatic pain. An external dose can even be applied to warts. However, it should be noted that this plant should not be used in these cases excepted by trained professionals. This is because the plant, even in small doses, could lead to death through cardiac paralysis. (plant-life.org)

Links to more information


VIDEO


Website, video, and graphics by Rob Nelson
For more information on this plant or management please contact US Army Corp of Engineers


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