Lactuca canadensis (Wild Lettuce)

Plant Info
Also known as: Canadian Lettuce
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:annual, biennial
Habitat:shade, sun; edges of woods, along roads
Bloom season:July - September
Plant height:4 to 10 feet

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 7+petals Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flower] A mass of ¼-inch yellow flowers at the top of the stalk, often with pink or red-tinted edges, only a few are open at a time.

Leaves: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Deeply lobed and coarsely toothed towards the base of the plant, up to 12 inches long and to 6 inches wide, gradually becoming smaller, smooth-edged and unlobed at the top. No leaf stem at the stalk. Leaves taper to points at both ends and the edges are somewhat wavy.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed with plume

[photo of fruit] Seed head is a dandelion-type plume, 1-inch diameter


The unusual leaves of this plant make it pretty easy to identify even when it isn't in bloom. Also, nearly all references I've come across say the flowers of Wild Lettuce are yellow, but the plants that I found had distinctly pink petals, though they turned yellow towards the center.

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More photos

All photos taken at Long Lake Regional Park, New Brighton, MN, July-August 2006.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Meghan P - Roseville, Ramsey County
on: 2009-08-06 19:33:09

The flowers on the ones in my yard are always deep yellow, wonder if it's sensitive to soil pH like some other flowers?

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