Plant Image
Willow Lake - Sue Smith

Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Lactuca serriola - prickly lettuce

Other Common Names: wild lettuce
Plant Form: Forb or Subshrub

Family: Asteraceae

line decor
  Home   Plant Communities Plant List Search Forbs and Subshrubs Search Grasses Search Woody Plants Additional Resources About this Website
line decor

Click on Any Image for a Larger View

Bracts and flowers
Willow Lake
Sue Smith
Flower head
Willow Lake
Sue Smith
Leaf attachment
Willow Lake
Sue Smith
Willow Lake
Sue Smith
Plant - summer
Willow Lake
Sue Smith
Watson Lake
Sue Smith
Forb Plant Description

Origin: Introduced   Life Cycle: Biennial or annual
General Desc: A weed which grows from a large taproot with yellow flower heads of ray flowers and leafy stems filled with a milky juice. The principal stem branches are where flowering occurs, sometimes flower heads are on a few short branches from the base.
Identification notes: Annual herb; leafy-stemmed with milky sap. leaves oblong or elliptic, bearing small spines, dissected to not lobed; flower head open with spreading branches; flowers head of yellow ray flowers.
Height: To 6 feet


Habitat Description: Grows along roadsides and disturbed areas such as pastures or cultivated fields. Grows most abundantly on nutrient-rich soils.
Plant Communities: Disturbed Areas
Elevation: 1000 - 8000 feet

Flower Characteristics

Color: Yellow     Shape: Daisy or dandelion-like in round clusters     Tubular: N     Flowering Period: May - Oct
Description: Composed solely of ray flowers which are about 1/3 inch wide, on short stalks that grow on the branched, upper stems; when in seed forms miniature dandelion-like tufts.

Leaf and Stem Characteristics

Leaf Color: Bluish-green     Leaf Type: Simple     Leaf Shape: Pinnatifid     Leaf Margin: Lobed     Leaf Attachment: Alternate     Leaves Clasp: Y
Hairs: Leaves and stems     Spines: Y
Leaf Description: Variable in shape and size, to 10 inches long at base, graduating to smaller size on upper stems. The upper leaf surface is hairless, but there are prickles along the edge. The midrib of the lower leaf surface is lined with prickles.

Fruit and Seed Characteristics

Fruit Color: Gray or yellowish, brownish   
Fruit Type: Achene
Fruit Notes: Each flower head has 6 to 30 flattened fruits with 5 to 7 parallel ridges on each side. The single-seeded fruit has a tuft of soft white bristles (pappus) that are about 1/10 inch long on a slender beak that is nearly as long as the fruit.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Dec 13, 2022
Content Questions/Comments: Email Matt Halldorson  
Legal Disclaimer