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Lactuca virosa – Opium Lettuce (seed)


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Lactuca is a genus of about 100 species of annuals, biennials and perennials in the Asteraceae family. The word Lactuca comes from the Latin lac (milk) and refers to the milky latex which exudes from the broken plant and is the source of lactucarium. Lactucarium (lettuce opium) was used in the 18th century as a sedative and also to adulterate opium (from Papaver somniferum). It has similar effects to the opium poppy, without being addictive. Also used as a cough suppressant.

The latex from broken or cut plant parts is collected and dried for use. The active ingredients increase greatly during flowering and are relatively low in young plants. Whole dried plants can also be soaked in alcohol for a few weeks, strained, filtered then used, usually only a few drops is necessary.

Care and Cultivation of Lactuca virosa

Lactuca virosa seeds can be either direct sown or first raised in pots. Lightly cover the seeds with soil or sand and keep moist until germination. Once the seedlings are big enough, they can be transplanted to the garden. Frost resistant. Likes a shaded well-watered position. Flowers and dies in its second year, generally.

25 seeds per packet


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