Blue Lettuce
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Blue Lettuce
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Blue Lettuce, Russian lettuce, Tataren Lattich
Botanical name: Lactuca tatarica    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Mulgedium tataricum, Lactuca pulchella, Lagedium tataricum

Blue Lettuce is a plant with milky sap, 20-100 cm tall. It is a perennial herb arising from white, deep-seated, creeping root, often growing in patches. Stems are erect, hairless or almost so. Leaves are alternate, narrowly lance-shaped, 5-18 cm long and 6-35 mm wide, entire, or the lower ones more or less with triangular, backward-pointing lobes or sharply toothed, often with waxy coating beneath. Flower-heads are blue, showy, about 2 cm wide, with 18-50 ray florets only, several in open clusters. Involucre is 1.5-2 cm high in fruit, with overlapping bracts in 3 rows. Fruits are 4-7 mm long, the slender body moderately compressed, prominently several-nerved on each face, the beak stout, often whitish, equaling or less than half as long as the body. Pappus of white, hair-like bristles. The species name tataricum means, from the Tatar Mountains in Russia. Blue Lettuce is found in SW Asia, Russia, Mongolia, China and E. Europe. In India it is found on riverbanks and terraces, by lakes, meadows, by fields, consolidated sand dunes, gravelly places in the Himalayas, in Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh, at altitudes of 1200-4300 m. Flowering: June-September.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Nubra Valley, Ladakh.

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