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Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Lactuca ludoviciana

Lactuca ludoviciana (Nutt.) Riddell

Western Wild Lettuce, Louisiana Wild Lettuce, Prairie Lettuce, Prairie Wild Lettuce, Biannual Lettuce

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Synonym(s): Lactuca campestris, Lactuca campestris var. typica


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Lactuca means "milk" which refers to the white sap in the stems and leaves of the plant. "Latex brownish". (Bibref: 281). Ludoviciana refers to King Louis XIV in whose honor Louisiana was named.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial , Biennial
Habit: Herb
Root Type: Tap
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Deltoid , Oblanceolate
Leaf Margin: Dentate , Lobed
Leaf Base: Clasping
Breeding System: Monoecious
Inflorescence: Head , Panicle
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall.
Leaf: Milky sap from leaves and stems.
Flower: Ray florets: 5 petals united. Disc florets: absent
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene. Gray/black with white pappus bristles on a stem at the tip of the beak.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Blue
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
Bloom Notes: Many heads at the top of the stalk.


USA: AR , AZ , CA , CO , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MN , MO , MS , MT , ND , NE , NM , OK , OR , SD , TX , UT , WA , WI , WY
Canada: BC , MB , SK

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
Drought Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Calcareous
Conditions Comments: Usually considered a weed.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.


Bibref 293 - Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (1979) Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston
Bibref 281 - Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas (1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F...

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Lactuca ludoviciana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Lactuca ludoviciana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Lactuca ludoviciana


Record Modified: 2022-12-29
Research By: ghh

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