Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Tall Blue Lettuce - Lactuca biennis   (Moench) Fernald
Members of Asteraceae:
Members of Lactuca with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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Author(Moench) Fernald
DistributionMountains and northern Piedmont; near the Deep River in Lee County; abandoned field in Sandhills of Scotland County, an odd habitat and disjunction.

Lab. to AK, south to NC, TN, AZ, and CA.
AbundanceUncommon to fairly common in the Mountains; uncommon in the northwestern Piedmont, and very rare southeast to Lee and Scotland counties. Essentially absent in the Coastal Plain and parts of the Piedmont.
HabitatMoist to mesic soil of openings in floodplain forests and bottomlands, woodland margins, meadows, pastures, old fields. It has some affinity for sites with circumneutral soil.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting August-October.
IdentificationOur native lettuces are tall (mostly 3-6 feet or more), have ray florets only, and have milky white juice. Tall Blue Lettuce is one of three with lavender-bluish florets. It can be told from Woodland Lettuce (L. floridana) by the tawny (vs. white) color of the pappus (long feathery hairs attached to the seed) and from Grassleaf Lettuce (L. graminifolia) by the latter's slender and toothless or few-toothed leaves. Most Lactuca species are quite robust, and some reach over your head in height (such as this species); when in bloom with the light blue flowers, the plants are quite striking.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS3? [S3S4]
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
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USACE-empFACU link
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B.A. SorrieSkyline Drive, VA, late Aug 2014. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC

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