An annual or biennial herb of roadsides, waste ground, gravel-pits and sea walls, often rapidly colonising newly turned soil. Also occasionally in semi-natural habitats, such as shingle banks and sand dunes. Lowland.
L. serriola, first recorded in Britain in 1632, spread rapidly during the 20th century, often with road development. Since the 1962 Atlas it has spread northwards and westwards, and greatly consolidated its range. It was first recorded in Ireland in 1996.
As an archaeophyte L. serriola has a Eurosiberian Southern-temperate distribution; it is widely naturalised outside this range.
PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
Atlas text references
1985. The geographical distribution of Prickly Lettuce (Lactuca serriola). I. A general survey of its habitats and performance in Britain. Journal of Ecology. 73:27-38.
1986. Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
1992. Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 3. 2 vols.
1999. Lactuca serriola L. in Dublin (H21). Irish Naturalists' Journal. 26:285-286.