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  1. Family: Asteraceae Bercht. & J.Presl
    1. Genus: Lactuca L.
      1. Lactuca inermis Forssk.

        This species is accepted, and its native range is Tropical & S. Africa, Madagascar, Arabian Peninsula.


    Compositae, G. V. Pope. Flora Zambesiaca 6:1. 1992

    An erect perennial herb up to 1 (1.5) m. tall, with a long thick semi-woody taproot.
    Stems solitary, or proliferating at the rootcrown, branched above, glabrous or setulose, glaucous, scattered leafy or leaves ± crowded on the lower stem, sometimes rosulate.
    Leaves contemporaneous with the flowers, sessile membranous glabrous, or lower surface sparsely hispid with midrib and main nerves glandular-setose, entire or remotely denticulate, 8–20 x 0.3–1.6 cm., ± narrowly lanceolate, undivided to ± runcinate with lateral lobes up to c. 1.5 cm. long, bases semi-amplexicaul in basal leaves to sagittate-auriculate in cauline leaves, auricle lobes up to c. 2 cm. long and very narrowly triangular.
    Synflorescence laxly or congested paniculate, rarely somewhat racemose; branches usually c. 8–10 cm. long and diffusely subdivided, or up to c. 25 cm. long ascending and sparsely or much subdivided, glabrous, bracteate; bracts leaf-like, narrowly triangular, sagittate-auriculate.
    Capitula numerous, stalked, solitary or loosely aggregated; involucres 8–10 x 1.5–2 mm. at time of flowering, increasing to c. 18 x 4 mm. in fruiting capitula, cylindric becoming narrowly conical in fruit.
    Phyllaries glabrous, sometimes guttulate, green and often purple-edged or spotted; outer phyllaries 2–6 mm. long, lanceolate; the innermost up to c. 17 mm. long, lanceolate; margins becoming involute except near the apex.
    Florets 4–14 per capitulum; corollas blue purplish orwhite, less often yellow, 0–17 mm. long, tube tufted-setulose near the throat; ligules c. 6–11 x 2 mm., oblanceolate-lorate, glabrous.
    Achenes dark-brown to black 4.5–8.5 x 1.25–2 mm. including a 1.5–2.5 mm. long paler-coloured beak, flattened-ellipsoid, broadly margined, narrowly 1-ribbed on each face, hispidulous or glabrous; pappus several-seriate, of persistent white to yellowish-white barbellate setae 6–7 mm. long.

    Compositae, H. Beentje, C. Jeffrey & D.J.N. Hind. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2005

    Perennial herb 5–150(–240) cm high, erect (said to be scrambling in Bidgood et al. 3870), with a long thick taproot and with milky latex; stems solitary or few, branching distally, glaucous, sometimes with reddish tinge, glabrous or setose.
    Leaves scattered or crowded on the lower stem, sometimes almost absent at flowering time, glaucous green, membranous, sessile, narrowly lanceolate, 5–20 cm long, 0.3–1.6 cm wide (up to 7 cm wide including lobes), base semi-amplexicaul in basal leaves, sagittate in cauline ones, margins entire or remotely denticulate and sometimes with a few lateral lobes to 3 cm long, apex acute or mucronate, glabrous or sparsely setose beneath on midrib and main veins.
    Capitula few (3–4) to over a hundred in a leafy panicle, the branching of the inflorescence congested to lax, the bracts sagittate; involucre cylindric, 8–12 mm long, lengthening to 18 mm and flask-shaped with swollen base after anthesis; phyllaries lanceolate, green with reddish to purple markings and tips, 2–17 mm long, acute, the very apex with a little hair-tuft.
    Florets 2–14 per capitulum; corolla blue or mauve, less often pink, yellow or white, tube cylindric, 4–6 mm long, densely pilose distally, ligule 6–11 mm long, 1–2.6 mm wide.
    Achenes dark brown to black, ellipsoid, 4.5–8.5 mm long including a beak of 1.5–2.5 mm long, 1-ribbed on each face, glabrous or hispidulous; pappus in several series, white, 5–7 mm long.
    Fig. 21; fig. 20/8 (achene).
    Grassland and a weed of cultivation, on fallow land, in roadsides; (650–)1000–2800 (–3450) m
    widely distributed in tropical southern Africa K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7 T8

    Compositae, C. D. Adams. Flora of West Tropical Africa 2. 1963

    Very variable perennial herbs from a few inches to over 5 ft. high from a robust woody stock.



    Native to:

    Angola, Benin, Burkina, Cameroon, Cape Provinces, Central African Repu, Chad, Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Free State, Gulf of Guinea Is., Ivory Coast, Kenya, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Northern Provinces, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Yemen, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

    Accepted Infraspecifics


    Other Data

    Lactuca inermis Forssk. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Jul 1, 2007 Tchiengue, B. [2175], Cameroon K000518611
    Jul 1, 2001 Cheek, M. [9096], Cameroon K000108710
    Jul 1, 2001 Cheek, M. [9462], Cameroon K000108713
    Keay, R.W.J. [28584], Cameroon K000027636
    Keay, R.W.J. [FHI 28383], Cameroon K000027623
    Keay, R.W.J. [FHI 28383], Cameroon K000027624
    Dalziel, J.M. [8313], Cameroon K000027661
    Hepper, F.N. [1934], Cameroon K000027635
    Gossweiler, J. [1164], Angola K001307259
    Morton, J.K. [7064], Cameroon K000027620
    Maitland, T.D. [1184], Cameroon K000027658
    Maitland, T.D. [932], Cameroon K000027660
    Maitland, T.D. [0s.n.63], Cameroon K000027625
    Maitland, T.D. [1673], Cameroon K000027627
    Boughey, A.S. [6984], Cameroon K000027619
    Sanford, W.W. [5446], Cameroon K000027615
    Mann, G. [1928], Cameroon K000027657
    Mann, G. [0s.n.15], Cameroon K000027632
    Mann, G. [1300], Cameroon K000027633
    Leeuwenberg, A.J.M. [8498], Cameroon K000027614
    Schimper [1172] K000251871
    Hedberg, O. [93133], Cameroon K000087424
    Brenan, J.P.M. [9379], Cameroon K000027634
    Breteler, F.J. [MC 21], Cameroon K000027617
    Johnston, H.H. [42], Cameroon K000027656
    Petit K000251872
    Petit K000251873
    Polunin, N. [110], Cameroon K000027638
    Lebrun, Jean [7677], Zaire K000251864 Unknown type material
    Migeod, F. [289], Cameroon K000027628
    Migeod, F. [289], Cameroon K000027629
    Edwards, D.C. [3107], Kenya K000251885 Unknown type material
    Graham [2803], Kenya K000251884 Unknown type material
    Liebenburg, L.C.C. [3270], South Africa K000251894 Unknown type material
    Harris, T. [268], Mozambique K000613343
    Mildbraed, G. W. J. [10839], Cameroon K000027654
    Migeod, F. W. H. [167], Cameroon K000027653
    Brunt, M.A. [63], Cameroon K000027637
    Jan 1, 2010 Etuge, M. [102], Cameroon Lactuca capensis K000662174
    Schimper [128] Lactuca capensis K000251868
    Schimper [128] Lactuca capensis K000251870
    Schimper [128] Lactuca capensis K000251869
    Collenette, J.S. [1408], Saudi Arabia Lactuca capensis K000809328


    First published in Fl. Aegypt.-Arab.: 144 (1775)

    Accepted by

    • Roskov Y. & al. (eds.) (2018). Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life Naturalis, Leiden, the Netherlands.


    Kew Backbone Distributions

    • Ghazanfar, S.A. (1992). An Annotated Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Oman and their Vernacular names Scripta Botanica Belgica 2: 1-153.

    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    • Agnew, A.D.Q. & Agnew, S., Upland Kenya Wild Flowers, ed. 2: 230 (1994).
    • G.V. Pope in Flora Zambesiaca 6: 205, t. 37c (1992).
    • Lawalrée, Dethier & Gilissen in Flore d'Afrique Centrale Compositae: Cichorioideae: 62, t. 13 (1986).
    • J.R.I. Wood in Kew Bulletin 39: 132 (1984).
    • Forssk., Fl. Aegypt.-Arab.: 144 (1775).


    Flora Zambesiaca
    Flora Zambesiaca

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Flora of West Tropical Africa
    Flora of West Tropical Africa

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.