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Not Dandelion

A place to figure out what it is BEFORE you poke it in your mouth.

Post Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:00 pm

Posts: 171
Location: Rexburg, Idaho
While I was out digging dandelions I started digging up another similar looking plant. In this photo is a dandelion which has some red/pink in it's leaves at the bottom. I'm wondering if anyone knows what the other plant is because it's also growing all over my property.
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Post Fri Nov 11, 2016 4:25 am

Posts: 206
Wild lettuce. It's safe, and you won't get high, despite what some other folklore might tell you.

Post Fri Nov 11, 2016 5:54 am
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
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Posts: 1027
I don't think it is wild lettuce. It does not appear to have the requisite spines down the back rib.

Post Fri Nov 11, 2016 6:28 pm

Posts: 206
Hmmm.... I believe you might be right, Steve. (Though I have tasted the weed in the picture and I didn't die or get high).

However, it is good to bear in mind that there are two varieties of wild lettuce, as we know them: Lactuca Virosa, which is the small weed that grows close to the ground and is often mistaken for dandelion.

And Lactuca Serriola, also known as Wild Prickly Lettuce, or "Opium Lettuce." It is tall and really quite unattractive, with a flowering top and sharp prickly spines all over the stems and leaves, but inside that woody stem is a white latex which is the medicine. Though it will not get you high, as the name implies, that medicine has some antispasmodic properties. I've boiled it down as a decoction and put it on my dog's food to help the spasms in her back legs. When the plant is tiny and young, it has very little medicine (and is a lot less prickly), and you can actually make a nice tea out of it, which is mild and pleasant, with a flavor similar to asparagus. (Yep, I tried it, and it's true, it's not bad!)

To find pictures of the two, use their Latin names and you will be sure to find what you're looking for. I'd be willing to bet you've got some of each growing in your yard, or for sure have seen the Serriola in a vacant lot nearby.

Post Sat Nov 12, 2016 2:09 am
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
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Posts: 1027
Michael Moore says that wild lettuce (the prickly kind) has a mild opiate analgesic effect, useful in children when they need rest from constant coughing or intestinal cramps.

Post Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:45 pm
Doc Jones User avatar
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Posts: 912
Are we sure it's not a dandelion?

Any of it flowering? FLowers really help identify some of these guys.

Doc

Post Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:08 am

Posts: 171
Location: Rexburg, Idaho
There were no flowers on it but it didn't look like my other dandelions (with the pick) so I thought it was not dandelion.
What do you think?

Post Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:37 am
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
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Posts: 1027
Genetics can make the leaves look different on various specimens. Some VERY serrated. Others nearly smooth on the edge. See that at our house quite frequently. The FLOWER will be the only real check.

Post Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:25 am

Posts: 171
Location: Rexburg, Idaho
So to be clear: It could be a dandelion, just a different kind?

I'll be watching more vigilantly, for the flower of this plant to appear, next spring.

Post Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:07 pm
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
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Posts: 1027
Different GENETICS is all. Like the difference between red head and blonde.


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