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Anthony Steel with his plan

Anthony Steel with his plan

Blue lettuce – but it’s not what you think

Richard Wright

[email protected]

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 13:30

ANTHONY Steel is not feeling blue about his lettuce — although he is certainly seeing the colour.
Lactuca tatarica is flourishing in his Rookley Green garden after he picked one up at a nursery. It has matured to be bristling with attractive blue flowers.
Information is scarce on this plant and he was told by the nursery where he bought it this was a difficult one to propagate. He wonders if readers have any tips.
Lactuca tatarica is a member of the dandelion family and not a lettuce at all. It is widespread in the wild across much of Europe, Asia, and North America but remains uncommon in British gardens, which is unusual because it is an attractive plant and seems suited to the Island.
The perennial herb likes sandy ground near the sea, including sand dunes, car parks and waste ground.
It also grows inland in rough ground and on railway sidings and rubbish tips, having been introduced into cultivation in Britain in 1784.
Blue lettuce has showy flowers and the milky sap has been harvested and used for all manner of complaints for many years — but in slightly larger doses than recommended it can kill.
The flower of the lactuca tatarica

The flower of the lactuca tatarica

 


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