Great Lettuce - Lactuca virosa


    Tall plant to 2 metres, with stems often prickly below and often tinged maroon Upper leaves horizontal, finely prickly along the mid-rib beneath. Flowerheads in a pyramidal panicle. Achenes maroon to blackish.

    Similar Species

    Lactuca serriola (Prickly Lettuce)

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    Leaves very variable, but more often lobed, and usually maroon tinged; stem and prickly midribs also tinged maroon.  Achenes maroon to blackish

    Recording advice

    The County Recorder has asked for a specimen of this plant to be retained for verification.  Photos showing stems, leaf midribs and achenes - cannot be verified from flowers only


    Disturbed ground, roadside verges, waste places & banks of streams.

    When to see it

    July to September.

    Life History

    Annual or biennial.

    UK Status

    Widespread in central and south-eastern England, scarcer elsewhere in Britain.

    VC55 Status

    Infrequent but perhaps increasing in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 14 of the 617 tetrads.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    UK Map