Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Lactuca raddeana

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Botanical Name: Lactuca raddeana
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Cichorioideae
Tribes: Cichorieae
Subtribes: Lactucinae
Genus: Lactuca
Species: Lactuca raddeana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Lactuca aogashimaensis Kitamura; Lactuca elata Hemsley, non Salisbury; Lactuca raddeana var. compacta Baranov & Skvortsov; Pterocypsera elata (Hemsley) C. Shih; Prenanthes hieracifolia H. Léveillé

Common names: (Japanese common name) yama-nigana [meaning: mountain bitter herb])

Habitat :Lactuca raddeana is native to E. Asia – China, Japan. It grows on mountains all over Japan.
Lactuca raddeana is an annual or perennial herb, growing to 0.6 m (2ft). Roots ramose. Stem solitary, erect, basal half ± densely hispid, apical half glabrous and branched. Lower and middle stem leaves with basal portion cuneate or winged petiole-like, 2–10 cm; apical portion ovate, elliptic, or triangular, 5–16 × 2–8.5 cm, undivided, pinnatipartite, or lyrately pinnatipartite, ± hispid, margin dentate and coarsely sinuate-dentate; lateral lobes 1–3 pairs, elliptic, apex acute; terminal lobe triangular, ovate-triangular, or subrhombic, apex acute. Upper stem leaves with basal portion shorter, winged, and petiole-like to cuneate, apical portion ovate, elliptic, or lanceolate. Synflorescence narrowly paniculate, with numerous capitula on wiry branches. Capitula with 8–11 florets. Involucre cylindric, 8–10 mm at anthesis, 9–11 × 4–5 mm in fruit. Phyllaries often pale purplish red; outer phyllaries triangular-ovate to lanceolate, largest ca. 5 × 1–2 mm, apex obtuse; inner phyllaries 5(or 6), apex obtuse. Florets bright yellow. Achene 3–4 mm; body reddish to dark brown, ellipsoid, compressed, broadly winged, 1.5–2 mm wide, with 3(–5) prominent ribs on either side, apically contracted into a concolorous or apically pale stout 0.2–0.4 mm beak. Pappus 6–7 mm, ± caducous. Fl. and fr. May–Oct. 2n = 18.


The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation: Prefers a light sandy loam.

Propagation : Seed – sow spring in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick.

Edible Uses: Leaves – raw or cooked. Root.
Medicinal Uses :
Although we have seen no specific reports for this species, most if not all members of the genus have a milky sap that contains the substance ‘lactucarium‘ and can probably be used as the report below details. The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air. The sap contains ‘lactucarium’, which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, many plants in this genus contain a narcotic principle, this is at its most concentrated when the plant begins to flower. This principle has been almost bred out of the cultivated forms of lettuce but is produced when the plant starts to go to seed
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.