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Electronic Flora of South Australia
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Electronic Flora of South Australia species Fact Sheet

Lactuca serriola

Citation: L., Cent. 2. Pl. 29 (1756).

Synonymy: L. scariola L., Sp. Pl. edn 2:119 (1763); L. virosa sensu J. Black, Fl. S. Aust. 661 (1929), non L.

Common name: Prickly lettuce, compass plant, milk thistle.

Biennial 1-2 m high; stems erect, seldom branched below the inflorescence, glabrous to setose, pale; leaves oblanceolate to oblong, usually pinnatifid to pinnatisect, rarely more or less entire, 3-18 cm long, to 6 cm wide, usually minutely spinulose-denticulate along the margin, spinulose to setose on the mid-vein; cauline leaves amplexicaul with acute to obtuse auricles, twisted at the base into a roughly vertical plane; panicle pyramidal with spreading branches.

Capitula pedicellate, solitary in the axils of reduced leaves and terminating the ultimate branches; involucres 3- or 4-seriate, 6-9 mm long at flowering, green to reddish; inner bracts accrescent to 12 mm, spreading or reflexed in fruit; florets 7-18, slightly exceeding the involucre.

Achenes 6-8 mm long; body 3-4 mm, obovate, 5-9-ribbed on each face, minutely setulose above, grey-brown; pappus bristles c. 3 mm long.

Published illustration: Cunningham et al. (1982) Plants of western New South Wales, p. 719.

Distribution:  Roadsides, gardens, cultivated fields, irrigation land; also along watercourses and disturbed sites in bushland.

  All States.

Conservation status: naturalised

Flowering time: Sept. — April.

SA Distribution Map based
on current data relating to
specimens held in the
State Herbarium of South Australia

Biology: Lactuca sativa L., the garden lettuce, is closely related to L. serriola it may persist on and near former cultivation.

Author: Not yet available

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