prickly lettuce
Lactuca serriola L.


Lactuca serriola is an annual or biennial that can reach heights of 6 ft. (1.8 m).
Cauline leaves (on the stem) are alternate, 2-14 in. (5-36 cm) long and become smaller up the stem. Leaves have a conspicuous, white midvein with the underside of the vein covered with many prickles.
In the mid-to-late summer, 0.5 in. (1.3 cm) wide, yellow flowers develop in a branched inflorescence at the apex of the stem.
Flowers produce dandelion-like seeds.
Ecological Threat
Lactuca serriola is native to the Mediterranean region and occurs along roadsides, in abandoned fields, and other disturbed areas. It was accidentally introduced into North America in the late 1890s, possibly as a contaminant in seed.

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EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

State Regulated List
   No Data for this state
   Troublesome or Common weed in one or more crops

Most Troublesome / Most Common Agricultural Weed List
This map identifies those states that consider this species either most troublesome or most common in at least one commodity. For more information, visit the MTMC project page.

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Lactuca
Subject: Lactuca serriola L.

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
China lettuce, wild lettuce

Related Scientific Names:
Lactuca scariola L. (Synonym)


Plants - Forbs/Herbs