This is a leafy variety of prickly lettuce. Lactuca Serriola is more suited for fresh consumption. This is heirloom seed from my cultivated lettuce garden. I have a great recipe for Bitter Greens and Potato Soup that can be made with this lettuce. The flavor is incredibly mild. More mild than kale or arugula.
Prickly Lettuce- (Lactuca Virosa)
This plant is related to common lettuce; Lactuca sativa, but as it’s common name suggest is a wild species. Wild lettuce is cultivated in Austria, France, Germany and Scotland and can be collected from the wild across the southern United States where it has become naturalized, and from Northern and Eastern Europe. Opium Lettuce, another common names for Wild Lettuce harkens to the milky latex substance that exudes when the plant is broken, which was prepared as a substitute for Opium in the 1900’s by physicians. A preparation from wild lettuce was described in the United States Dispensatory of 1898. Although the prepared latex resin from the plant is purported to have some of the same properties as opium, the effects are much more mild.
What is it for?
Wild lettuce has been used historically to support nerves and promote restful sleep.* It is a bitter plant and therefore has some historical use for supporting digestion. The chemical constituents found in Wild Lettuce in the milky latex or Lactucarium have been studied for various properties relating to the central nervous system and pain centers in the brain.* Lactucin one of the chemicals is classified as a Sesquiterpene Lactone and the research centers on its action as an adenosine receptor agonist.*
This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does notprovide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs.
Growing tips; Full sunlight for best results, will grow in the shade. Moist soil. These plants grow very aggressively and should only be grown if you have the time to look after them and weed them properly. Always deadhead flowers before they set seed to prevent spread. Weed unwanted seedlings ruthlessly.