Lactuca serriola, Lactuca scariola, Prickly lettuce,
Scarole, Broom lettuce, Wild lettuce,
Hebrew: חסת המצפן, Arabic: خَسّ الزَّيْت

Scientific name:  Lactuca serriola L.
Synonym name:  Lactuca scariola L.
Common name:  Prickly lettuce, Scarole, Broom lettuce, Wild lettuce
Hebrew name:  חסת המצפן
Arabic name:  خَسّ الزَّيْت
Family:  Compositae / Asteraceae, מורכבים

Lactuca serriola, Lactuca scariola,Prickly lettuce, Scarole, Broom lettuce,کاهوئک ,חסת המצפן

Life form:  Therophyte, annual
Stems:  30-190 cm high; erect, stout, round, reddish green, glabrous, containing a milky latex
Leaves:  Alternate, rosette, entire, dissected, dentate or serrate
Inflorescence:  Open panicle 15–90 cm long by 10–70 cm wide of numerous flower heads
Flowers:  Flower head 8-14 mm wide, cream, yellow toothed petals; involucral bracts, in 3 or 4 series, overlapping edges, green with reddish tips; disc florets absent; ligulate florets perfect,
Fruits / pods:  Achenes grey, bristly tipped; pappus white with equal lengthed hairs
Flowering Period:   July, August, September, October
Habitat:   Disturbed habitats, Nutrient-rich soils, ruderal
Distribution:  Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands, Semi-steppe shrublands, Shrub-steppes, Deserts and extreme deserts, Montane vegetation of Mt. Hermon
Chorotype:   Euro-Siberian - Med - Irano-Turanian
Summer shedding:  Ephemeral

Flowers in Israel


Derivation of the botanical name:
Lactuca, Latin lact, milk, referring to the milky sap.
serriola, pertaining to salad, being one form of an old name for chicory.
scariola, an Italian name for Succory (Nicholas Culpeper).
  • The standard author abbreviation L. is used to indicate Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, the father of modern taxonomy.
The milky sap of the Lactuca is the source of lactucarium, the " lettuce opium" (the dried milky juice).
The history of Lactuca (lettuce) can be traced way back to the ancient Egyptians. Lactuca was closely associated with Min, the Egyptian god of fertility, and also featured in the aftermath of the homosxual assault of Seth on Horus. Thus the lettuce aquired the reputation of being aphrodisiac. Min is often depicted holding a rosette of Lactuca Serriola. Lactuca was also used by the Romans and Augustus was said to have raised a statue in honor of the Lettuce infusion that he claimed saved his life.
Pliny the Elder (23 - 79 AD), wrote extensively of Lactuca in his work Naturalis Historia.
Dioscorides (circa 40—90 AD) says that "it is similar in virtue to the Poppy," since it is suporific and painkilling.
Lactucarium was produced by pharmaceutical companies until about the 1940's.

Lactuca serriola, Lactuca scariola,Prickly lettuce, Scarole, Broom lettuce,کاهوئک ,חסת המצפן
Location: Kibbutz Ma'agan, Sea of Galilee