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Lactuca Virosa (Wild Lettuce) Seeds

USD 1.99 – USD 49.99

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Description

Lactuca virosa grows as a biennial, leafy stalk stemming from a large brown taproot. It starts as a low rosette at first, but extends with age, typically measuring up to four feet in height. It is a wild relative of lactuca sativa, which contains the group of cultivars that are commonly used in salads. Virosa, one of several species known as wild lettuce, is sometimes used in salads too. But it is quite bitter and therefore less palatable. All wild lettuce species have this quality, but it has been bred out of lactuca sativa over hundreds of years of cultivation. More so than an edible, virosa was used by doctors as a medicinal, particularly a sedative. The plant exudes a sticky, off-white latex when damaged. Used as tincture, drank in tea or eaten as dried latex balls, wild lettuce was used to treat restlessness and insomnia, coughs, colic, hyperactivity and pain. Its effects are the result of lactucopicrin and lactucin. It is still sold by many herb shops today, although the quality seems to vary much. Fresh herb or freshly collected latex is probably more reliable.

Growing information: Lactuca virosa prefers sandy or loamy soils but is not particularly picky. You can start your seeds indoors in the early spring to get a head start on the growing season. Plant your seeds on the surface of your potting mixture and just barely cover them with soil. Cover the pots with saran wrap until germination begins. They can be transplanted when they are a few inches. This is best off being done before the temperatures get too hot. Seeds can also be sown directly outdoors. But they are made to be carried by wind so you may lose a few if you have strong winds. To prevent this, make sure the soil stays moist so it will hold together. These plants prefer full sun. They are not frost tender and will return the following year.

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Lactuca virosa grows as a biennial, leafy stalk stemming from a large brown taproot. It starts as a low rosette at first, but extends with age, typically measuring up to four feet in height. It is a wild relative of lactuca sativa, which contains the group of cultivars that are commonly used in salads. Virosa, […]

Ravensong Seeds & Herbals

Opium Lettuce Seeds

Chemical-free farm-grown Opium Lettuce (Lactuca virosa) seeds for organic growing.

All seed varieties are grown at our farm or locally and sustainably wildcrafted by us. We gather, process, and package every seed variety we carry ourselves with love and care in small batches. We never purchase seeds from outside sources to resell to you. All of our varieties are open-pollinated, grown without the use of chemicals, hybrid-free and GMO-free.

1 pkg (approx 60-80 seeds)

Common Names
Opium Lettuce, Lettuce Opium, Poor Man’s Opium, Bitter Lettuce

Botanical Name
Lactuca virosa

Plant Family
Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Life Cycle
Biennial

Native Range
Europe

Hardiness Zone
2-11

Height/Spread
To 4ft tall in bloom. 1ft wide.

Sun/Soil
Likes a sunny spot with poor soil. The most potent plants will be found in full sun and given very little water.

Germination/Sowing
Easy. Seeds can be started in the fall or spring, or anytime throughout the growing season. They can be direct seeded or started in flats and transplanted out.

Growing/Care
Plants are best harvested or pulled when in bloom to prevent self-seeding. Can become weedy.

Harvesting
The aerial parts can be collected during the flowering period. The woody stems should be discarded as they do not contain much of the medicine.

Culinary Uses
The young leaves can be eaten as a salad green.

Medicinal Uses
Wild Lettuce can be taken as a cough suppressant for dry irritable unproductive coughs, such as whooping cough.

The herb has similar actions to that of Opium Poppy but is weaker in effect. It has a calming action on the nervous system making it useful for the treatment of insomnia and restlessness. Its pain relieving actions can be applied to digestive cramping and pain, menstrual cramps, and general body aches and pains.

Themes
Apothecary Garden, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Container Garden.

Chemical-free farm-grown Opium Lettuce (Lactuca virosa) seeds for organic growing. All seed varieties are grown at our farm or locally and sustainably wildcrafted by us. We gather, process, and package every seed variety we carry ourselves with love and care in small batches. We never purchase seeds from outside sources to resell to you. All of our varieties are open-pollinated, grown without the use of chemicals, hybrid-free and GMO-free. 1 pkg (approx 60-80 seeds)