Prickly Lettuce, China Lettuce, Wild Lettuce, Compass Plant, Horse Thistle, Milk Thistle
Lactuca serriola

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lactuca (lak-TOO-kuh) (Info)
Species: serriola (ser-ee-OH-luh) (Info)
Synonym:Lactuca scariola

Category:

Annuals

Biennials

Height:

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

Spacing:

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Hardiness:

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Danger:

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:

Herbaceous

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona

Aurora, Colorado

Waggoner, Illinois

Benton, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Dallas, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Salt Lake City, Utah

Spokane, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

0
positives
2
neutrals
3
negatives
RatingContent
Negative

On Feb 4, 2007, sladeofsky from Louisville, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

Pull this weed early and use garden gloves. I remember the painful surprize I got the first time I grabbed hold of this weed. It is very spiny. It looks very similar to Lactuca Canadensis which is a native and spineless.

Neutral

On Aug 31, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Lactuca serriola is naturalized in Texas and other States.

Negative

On Dec 10, 2005, CastIronPlant22 from Lompoc, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This is a weed here in CA and the roots are very very hard to get rid of! They always re-sprout! NEVER grow this, it is a WEED!

Negative

On Jan 3, 2005, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Invasive and difficult to get rid of. The long taproots are almost impossible to dig up and the gazillions of seeds take wing and float into every corner of your garden.

Can live in the most adverse conditions and will remain here long after we are gone.

Livestock will not graze it, so it continues to pro-create with abandon.

Neutral

On Aug 31, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant is considered to be invasive in some states.