Botanical name: Lactuca sativa Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Lettuce is an annual plant with milky sap and hairless leaves that grow in a rosette on the ground at first, then either in a loose or a tightly rolled head, and eventually along an upright stem that supports the flowers. The dandelion-like flower-heads are pale yellow, less than 0.5 in across, and borne in dense clusters above the leaves on an erect branching stem. Lettuce belongs to the sunflowers family, but it has only ray flowers, and no disk flowers. There are hundreds of cultivars of Lettuce, mostly used for salad in Western countries. In some place like China, lettuce is cooked and eaten. Mild in flavour, it has been described over the centuries as a cooling counterbalance to other ingredients in a salad. There are six main classes of lettuce - Butterhead, Chinese lettuce, Crisphead or Iceberg, Looseleaf, Romaine and Summer Crisp. Iceberg forms tight, dense heads resembling cabbage.
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