PRICKLY LETTUCE
File Size: 73 KB
 
Lactuca serriola  L.
Riley County, Kansas
Biennial or winter annual
Height: 2-5 feet
Family: Asteraceae - Sunflower Family
Flowering Period:   July, August, September
Stems: Erect, branched above, bearing stiff bristles on lower 1/3; latex white.
Leaves: Alternate, simple, sessile, egg-shaped, 2 to 15 inches long, to 3 inches wide; margins sharp toothed to deeply pinnate-lobed; upper leaves smaller and lanceolate; prickly bristles along midribs on underside of middle and lower leaves.
Inflorescences: Widely spreading panicles of 50-100 heads; heads about 1/4 inch wide; bracts about 17, in 3-4 series, ovate to lanceolate.
Flowers: Ray florets 18-25, pale yellow with bluish stripe on back side; anthers yellow, protruding; disk florets absent.
Fruits: Achenes, small, flattened, conspicuously 5-7-ridged, light brown, long-beaked, tipped with whitish, hair-like bristles, enclosing small seed.
Habitat: Disturbed sites, waste areas, roadsides, and overgrazed pastures.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas.
Toxicity: Can cause poisoning in cattle when too much is consumed.
Forage Value: Prickly lettuce is palatable when young and sometimes is consumed by livestock and deer. Old plants become bitter.
Uses: Wild turkeys eat the leaves.

Prickly lettuce leaves
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Riley County, Kansas
Prickly lettuce inflorescence
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Riley County, Kansas
Prickly lettuce
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Riley County, Kansas
Bristles along midrib
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Riley County, Kansas
Prickly lettuce flowers
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Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Prickly lettuce achenes
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Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Prickly lettuce achenes
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Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Prickly lettuce leaf
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Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Prickly lettuce
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Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas