La’au Lapa’au | Wild Lettuce, Spontaneous Generation in the Garden of Diversity – Richo’s Blog

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

How does one identify volunteers in the field?  Well, the volunteers will appear in the area under and around the mother plant, or in the case of short-lived plants like Wild Lettuce, in the area where the mother plant once prospered but is now gone.  Every seedling has its individual characteristics.  Some will carry the seed coat up above the soil level and may be identified that way.  Others will demonstrate peculiar size, color or smell that help you know exactly what they are.  Practiced gardeners will identify the seedlings because they recognize the plant.  Wild lettuce seedlings have leaves that look like lettuce and are taprooted.  When the taproot is broken, they exude the bitter white latex known as lactucarium, so if the root bleeds white milk, you know you’re on the right track.

We like to leave our best plants to produce seeds, seeds that may be harvested…

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