Lettuce, Wild - Opium Lettuce (Lactuca virosa) - 20 Seeds
•American grown seeds
•Biennial (grown as an annual)
•USDA Zones: 3-8
Wild lettuce, also known as bitter lettuce, is grown for its medicinal benefits, which have been known since the time of Hippocrates. This is the wild species native to Europe. Young leaves are edible, and the plant can be milked for its medicinal latex. Though commonly referred to as Opium Lettuce, the effects are less euphoric and more sedative, perhaps useful for taking the edge off—perfect for these stressful pandemic times! The ancient Egyptians used the plant for pain relief. This summer, while strolling through the rich smorgasbord of plants at Edgewood Nursery, I asked Aaron if he had ever grown this plant. He gestured toward what looked like design elements of bolting lettuce.
Sow in spring or fall, in pots outdoors or directly in beds outdoors. Barely cover seed with soil and tamp securely, then keep cool and evenly moist until germination which takes 10 to 20 days. Very warm soil temperatures will hurt germination. Due to this plant needing cool temperatures to germinate, it can often be difficult to start indoors. Transplant or thin to 6 inches apart.
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