I like the title Wild Lettuce for this show. It seems incongruous, as in wild and lettuce don’t seem to go together. But where did the original Lactuca sativa come from in the wild? It must have been domesticated in the Old World thousands of years ago. Pick up any good seed catalog and look at all the types of lettuce that fall under Lactuca sativa. My goodness, right? I don’t think I explained the genus name in this show. The genus Lactuca comes from Latin and refers to the milky substance found in the leaves and stems…think old bolted lettuce here. The specific epithet sativa means cultivated. I’ll say! Oh, and the species name graminifolia for the wild lettuce I saw in the hills means with leaves like grass. Now you know.
A couple notes: There are four species of Lactuca around you and me. One of them is Lactuca serriola or prickle lettuce and it’s a very common weed. I bet if I pointed it out to you, you would say, “Hey, I know that weed.” The photo is mine and of the flower of Lactuca graminifolia.