Tall blue lettuce

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated April 2019.

Scientific name: Lactuca biennis (Moench) Fern.

Common name(s): tall blue lettuce, blue wood lettuce, woodland lettuce

Link(s): USDA PLANTS Profile, NPIN Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


-annual or biennial

-leaves are alternate and deeply pinnately lobed

-may be confused with wild lettuce (L. canadensis), especially when not in bloom; see left sidebar of Go Botany webpage. Can also hybridize with L. canadensis; see Flora Novae Angliae information at bottom of Go Botany webpage.


-disturbed areas

-meadows and fields

-forest edges

Natural History:

-Native Americans used the root to treat

  • pain
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea



Haines, A., Farnsworth, E., Morrison, G., & New England Wild Flower Society. (2011). New England Wildflower Society’s Flora Novae Angliae: A manual for the identification of native and naturalized higher vascular plants of New England. Framingham, MA: New England Wild Flower Society. p. 415.

Go Botany. “Lactuca Biennis (Moench) Fern.” Lactuca Biennis (Tall Blue Lettuce): Go Botany, 2020, gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org/species/lactuca/biennis/.