Prickly Lettuce (Lactuca serriola) is an annual or biennial plant that is commonly considered a weed of orchards, roadsides and field crops. The closest wild relative of cultivated lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.), it grows throughout the temperate regions of all major continents. The leaves grow along a spiny stem and get progressively smaller as they reach its top. They emit a milky sap when cut. Many flowers are produced and usually appear in the upper part of the plant.
The plant can be eaten as a salad, although it has something of a bitter taste. However, its presence in some ancient deposits has been linked more to its soporific properties which might suggest ritual use. The Ancient Greeks also believed its pungent juice to be a remedy against eye ulcers and Pythagoreans called the lettuce eunuch because it caused urination and relaxed sexual desire. It can also cause euphoria, relaxation, and at very high doses visual and auditory distortions from the lactucarium, although not as potent as the opiate effects of Lactuca virosa.
The Egyptian god Min is associated with this variety of lettuce. Also, archaeobotanical evidence in Greek archaeological contexts is scanty, although uncarbonised seeds have been retrieved from a 7th century BC deposit in a sanctuary of Hera on Samos. It is also described by Theophrastus. In mythology, Aphrodite is said to have laid Adonis in a lettuce bed, leading to the vegetable's association with food for the dead.
Evolution and Genetic Population Structure of Prickly Lettuce (Lactuca Serriola) and Its RGC2 Resistance Gene Cluster
Mar 01, 2008; ABSTRACT Genetic structure and diversity of natural populations of prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola) were studied using AFLP...
WIPO PUBLISHES PATENT OF RIJK ZWAAN ZAADTEELT EN ZAADHANDEL FOR "RESISTANCE TO NASONOVIA RIBISNIGRI BIOTYPE 1 (NR:1) FROM LACTUCA SERRIOLA" (DUTCH, FRENCH INVENTORS)
May 30, 2012; GENEVA, May 28 -- Publication No. WO/2012/065629 was published on May 24. Title of the invention: "RESISTANCE TO NASONOVIA...