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Lactuca tatarica - Russian Blue Lettuce

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Asterales - Family: Asteraceae

Flowers of Lactuca tatarica,  Russian Lettuce or Blue Lettuce

Also known as Russian Lettuce, this Chicory lookalike (at least in its flower form) has basal leaves more lanceolate that the Blue Lettuce Lactuca perennis commonly found in upland dry calcareous habitats in many parts of southern and central Europe.

Lactuca tatarica, leaves, stems and flowers of a young plant

Description

Russian Lettuce, Lactuca tatarica, grows to a height of 70cm. This erect, branching hairless perennial plant has grey-green lanceolate leaves and its violet-blue flowers are typically 3cm across.

Lactuca tatarica, Russian Lettuce - side view of flowers

The seeds are very like those of dandelions but rather smaller.

Lactuca tatarica, Russian Lettuce - side view of flowers

Distribution

Native to eastern Europe and parts of Asia but introduced to western Europe, Russian Lettuce is now found only in one small location in Britain - beside the Wales Coast path between West Beach, Llandudno and Deganwy, where it has been recorded at least since the early 1960s. There is also one known site for this species in south-west Ireland. The specimens shown on this page were photographed near Llandudno.

Habitat

This is a wildflower of dry sandy coastal habitats and it favours sunny locations..

Blooming times

In Wales and Ireland Russian Lettuce can usually be seen in flower between June and August. The pictures shown on this page were taken in Wales in mid July 2022.

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