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Genus Lactuca Family Asteraceae

Description: Annual and biennial herbs.

Leaves basal and cauline, alternate, sessile, entire to pinnatifid, with midvein prominent.

Heads numerous, cylindrical, in a terminal panicle or spicate in sessile axillary clusters; involucral bracts in many rows, outer ones much smaller, margins scarious, ovate to lanceolate; receptacle flat, naked, pitted. Florets all ligulate, bisexual, fertile, yellow. Anthers tailed at base, apical appendages short and subacute. Style branches linear, pubescent.

Achenes elliptic to obovate, flattened, with narrow marginal ridges, each face 5–8-ribbed, with a beak ± equal to achene body; pappus in many rows of fine equal barbellate bristles.


Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 100 species, Northern Hemisphere & Africa. Australia: 2 species (naturalised), all States.

Text by L. Murray
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Leaves narrow-oblong to linear, or with narrow lobes; upper cauline leaves with smooth marginsLactuca saligna
Leaves broad-oblong to lanceolate, entire or broadly lobed; upper cauline leaves with toothed marginsLactuca serriola

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