Canada Lettuce, Tall Lettuce, Tall Wild Lettuce

Lactuca canadensis

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lactuca (lak-TOO-kuh) (Info)
Species: canadensis (ka-na-DEN-sis) (Info)




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:


Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


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

Morrilton, Arkansas

Urbana, Illinois

Benton, Kentucky

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Valley Lee, Maryland

Halifax, Massachusetts

Mountain Grove, Missouri

Rogersville, Missouri

Groton, New York

Glouster, Ohio

Chester Springs, Pennsylvania

East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Millersburg, Pennsylvania

San Antonio, Texas

Santa Fe, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 17, 2015, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

It is an interesting, common, native plant over much of North America. Looks fine in the meadow. It can be a weed in the wrong place, of course like any plant. I took photos at Blinky Lee Land Preserve in southeast Pennsylvania in mid-August 2015.


On Aug 14, 2010, jeffinithaca from Groton, NY wrote:

I've just recently noticed a very odd-looking plant in a part of my property that I do not garden in. This odd weed seemed to shoot up without warning and stumped every gardener I showed it to. I finally was able to identify it as Tall or Wild Lettuce. What is even more odd, I live near Ithaca, New York and to my knowledge, this species doesn't thrive this far north. And it does thrive, as it is close to eleven feet tall. It is a remarkable plant but I was afraid that it would most certianly be a harmful weed to have so I clipped it in a weak moment. I only finally identified it after the fact. I appreciate the vast amount of knowledge on this website, it was here that I finally ended the mystery.
I have mixed feelings about cutting it down but I won't lose any sleep over it ... read more


On Jun 25, 2006, Sherlock_Holmes from Rife, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

The following information is from The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America by Francois Couplan Ph.D. (Note: This information applies to all Wild Lettuces of the Lactuca genus.)

"Lettuce contains vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D, and E, minerals, a bitter principal, and various substances, including a very large proportion of water for cultivated specimens: up to 96% in certain "iceberg" types, notwithstanding the chemical residues found in commercially grown plants.

The plant is soothing, emollient, laxative, depurative, and refrigerant.

The latex of cultivated plants when they go to seed, or especially of wild lettuce (especially L. virosa - naturalized from Eurasia in California), yields a dark brown, very bitter substance after drying kn... read more


On Mar 2, 2006, raisedbedbob from Walkerton, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

American Indians used plant tea as a mild sedative, nerve tonic and pain reliever. Milky latex from the stem was used on warts, pimples poison ivy rash and other skin irritations.


On Jan 17, 2005, JodyC from Palmyra, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

The small flowers attract bees primarily, such as Megachile latimanus (Large Leaf-Cutting Bee sp.). Goldfinches occasionally eat the seeds. Notwithstanding the bitter white latex in the foliage, mammalian herbivores occasionally eat this plant. The Cottontail Rabbit eats the tender leaves of first-year plants, while the White-Tailed Deer eats the tops off of more mature plants. Horses are reportedly very fond of this plant.