Lactuca, commonly known as ‘lettuce’, is a genus of flowering plants in the Asteraceae – the daisy family – numbering around fifty species worldwide, which mainly grow across temperate Eurasia. There are currently several differing ideas on exactly what it takes to be considered a part of the genus, with experts consequently estimating between fifty and seventy-five members, dependent on the classification system used. Apart from the small range of species that we know and love as leafy salad plants, many others are considered as common weeds. The species can take a diverse array of forms and range through the annuals, biennials, perennials and shrubs.

The most well-known is Lactuca sativa, the common garden lettuce which has produced the many flavoursome varieties that we’re all used to seeing on our dinner tables! Other tasty species which have found widespread as foods include Lactuca cyprica (‘Cyprus lettuce’), Lactuca indica (‘Indian lettuce’) and saligna (‘Narrow-leaf lettuce’). Wilder and therefore generally less-appetising varieties include dregeana (‘Melkdissel’), hirsuta (‘Hairy lettuce’), serriola (‘Milk thistle’) and virosa (‘Opium lettuce’).

Can’t see your species of interest? Let us know as we can likely source it for you.

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