Lactuca, commonly known as lettuce, is a genus of flowering plants in the daisy family, Asteraceae. The genus includes at least 50 species, distributed worldwide, but mainly in temperate Eurasia. Its best known representative is the garden lettuce (Lactuca sativa), with its many varieties. "Wild lettuce" commonly refers to the wild-growing relatives of common garden lettuce. Many species are common weeds. Lactuca species are diverse and take a wide variety of forms. They are annuals, biennials, perennials, or shrubs. Their flower heads have yellow, blue, or white ray florets. Some species are bitter tasting. Most wild lettuces are xerophytes, adapted to dry habitat types. Some occur in more moist areas, such as the mountains of central Africa.
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