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Prickly Lettuce

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Prickly Lettuce photos

Scientific Name:Lactuca serriola
Prickly lettuce plant
Prickly Lettuce plant
Photo: A J Brown

Other Common Names:

Wild Lettuce, Lettuce Opium


Native to Europe and western Asia. Naturalised throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Plant Description:

Annual or biennial herb to 2 m high with stiffy erect stems and bluish-green spiny leaves (margins and midribs). Basal and lower stem leaves without stalks, oblong to oblanceolate in shape, 3-18 cm long and 2-6 cm wide, undivided to deeply lobed.

Pale yellow flowers slightly exceeding the flower-cup (involucre) which is 6-9 mm long and up to 15 mm long when in fruit. Fruit is a cypsela or achene (dry, indehiscent and one-seeded) with a pappus to assist dispersal by wind.


Widespread in the drier parts of Victoria but often on the margins of swamps and lakes. Also occurs on roadsides and in gardens and crops. Appears to have some salt tolerance.

RegionSalinity ClassWaterlogging Class
Mallee, Loddon Murray, Central and Northern, Wimmera, Western, GippslandS0, S1W0, W1, W2


Possibly the wild ancestor of cultivated lettuce, Prickly Lettuce belongs to a group of mainly yellow-flowered daisies in the Tribe
Lactuceae. The plants in this tribe are characterised by having a basal rosette of leaves (flat-weeds), milky sap in their stems and their flower-heads consisting entirely of ray florets (i.e. no ‘eye’ to the daisy). See Key to Yellow Daisy Flat-weeds.

Prickly Lettuce Photos

Prickly lettuce leaf
Prickly Lettuce leaf
Photo: A J Brown
Prickly lettuce spiny margins andlow surface midrib
Spiny margins and lower surface midrib of Prickly Lettuce

Photo: A J Brown

Prickly lettuce developing flower panicle
Developing flower panicle with subtending leaf of Prickly Lettuce
Photo: A J Brown

Prickly lettuce flower panicle
Flower panicle of Prickly Lettuce
Photo: A J Brown

Prickly lettuce fruit
Prickly Lettuce fruit
Photo: A J Brown

Prickly lettuce flowerbud
Flowerbuds of Prickly Lettuce
Photo: A J Brown

Prickly lettuce flower
Prickly Lettuce flower
Photo: A J Brown

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