Uber passengers that were young adults asked me questions about natural birth and placenta medicine. It was a great conversation and I hopefully converted some young people to natural birth. Wild lettuce is and easy herb to use for aches and pains. It is a great substitute for aspirin and other over the counter pain relievers. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/alyeen-l-lim/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/alyeen-l-lim/support
Lettuce has been cultivated for thousands of years and there is no longer the wild version of Lactuca sativa. Well duh, sativa does mean cultivated, but listen, some ancient Egyptian horticulturist probably took an edible “weed” and started cultivating it. We can only guess. I grabbed a couple of last year’s seed catalogs…you know the ones you study in the middle of winter…and one catalog listed thirty-six varieties of Lactuca sativa and another listed one hundred forty-six varieties. Yikes! That’s enough to make a small market farmers head reel. “Which ones should we grow this season for our mini greens?” I feel their pain. I can’t imagine even remembering all the different names of the varieties. And why does it make me giggle that iceberg lettuce is from the same lineage. I should be kinder to iceberg I suppose. I mean I’ve eaten a lot of it over the years and remember fondly the wedges of iceberg lettuce covered in Russian dressing that my mom would sometimes serve. Yum! In Arizona Lactuca graminifolia or grassleaf lettuce can found in the mountains of central and southeastern Arizona from 5,000’ to 8,000’ in elevation. That’s a nice elevation to visit in the summer and you can search for this relative of the ancient and modern Lactuca sativa. The photos are mine of the plant and flower of grassleaf lettuce up in the Chiricahua Mtns.
I like the title Wild Lettuce for this show. It seems incongruous, as in wild and lettuce don’t seem to go together. But where did the original Lactuca sativa come from in the wild? It must have been domesticated in the Old World thousands of years ago. Pick up any good seed catalog and look at all the types of lettuce that fall under Lactuca sativa. My goodness, right? I don’t think I explained the genus name in this show. The genus Lactuca comes from Latin and refers to the milky substance found in the leaves and stems…think old bolted lettuce here. The specific epithet sativa means cultivated. I’ll say! Oh, and the species name graminifolia for the wild lettuce I saw in the hills means with leaves like grass. Now you know. A couple notes: There are four species of Lactuca around you and me. One of them is Lactuca serriola or prickle lettuce and it’s a very common weed. I bet if I pointed it out to you, you would say, “Hey, I know that weed.” The photo is mine and of the flower of Lactuca graminifolia.
There are about 90 species of Lactuca found around the world, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. Arizona Flora lists 4 species and one of those is the varmint Lactuca serriola (“varmint” means introduced European native). Lactuca sativa is the mother of all cultivated lettuces. I looked in a favorite vegetable seed catalogue and it listed over 90 varieties of Lactuca sativa. Whoa! That’s because of all the specialty lettuces you can find at farmers’ markets or in restaurants or in clear plastic boxes in grocery stores. And all you wanted was a head of iceberg! The specific epithet sativa, by the way, means cultivated, so whenever you see that in a botanical name you can assume the plant was or still is cultivated. Grass leaf lettuce or Lactuca graminifolia is found over much of Arizona from 5,000′ to 8,000′ in elevation, and, just in case you didn’t know, Lactuca is in the Asteraceae, and now you do.