E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Lactuca serriola L.
prickly lettuce
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Paul Handford  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #68697)

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Distribution of Lactuca serriola
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Species Information

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Biennial or winter annual herb from a fibrous root; stems erect, branched above, solitary, glabrous, exuding milky juice when broken, 0.3-1.5 m tall.
Basal leaves lacking; stem leaves alternate, prickly on the underside midrib, finely so on the margins, pinnately lobed or sometimes lobeless, twisted at the base to lie in a vertical plane, arrow-shaped, clasping, mostly 5-30 cm long, 1-10 cm wide.
Heads with strap-shaped flowers, numerous in a rounded inflorescence; involucres 10-16 mm tall; involucral bracts linear-lanceolate, irregularly graduated in 4 series; ray flowers yellow, often drying to blue, 13-47.
Achenes prominently nerved, grey or yellowish, 6-7 mm long with the slender beak 1-2 times as long as the body, compressed; pappus whitish.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry roadsides, fields and waste places in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; common throughout S BC; introduced from Europe.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Lactuca serriola

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 213 752 1193
Slope Gradient (%) 0 27 70
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
26 226 356
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(11), CWH(2), ICH(8), IDF(7), PP(7), SBS(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Lactuca scariola

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References