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Lettuce facts for kids

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Iceberg lettuce in SB.jpg
An iceberg lettuce field in California
Scientific classification
  • Lactuca scariola var. sativa (Moris)
  • L.┬áscariola var. integrata (Gren. and Godr.)
  • L.┬áscariola var. integrifolia (G.Beck)
Romaine lettuce
Loose leaf Romaine lettuce

Lettuce is a vegetable. Both the stems and the leaves can be eaten.

Growing lettuce

Lettuce can be grown in many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, and North America, in temperate climates. It will turn more bitter tasting in hot weather. You can grow lettuce during winter in a greenhouse.

Eating lettuce

In some countries, it is often eaten cold and raw, in salads, hamburgers, tacos, sandwichs, and many other dishes. In some places, including China, lettuce is eaten cooked. Lettuce contains very little energy or nutrients.

Kinds of lettuce

Most lettuce leaves are green, but some are red. Most lettuce leaves taste bitter. Some kinds of lettuce grow in a head shape like cabbage, while the leaves of some kinds grow more loosely.

The five main cultivars are: green leaf, red leaf, cos, crisphead, and stem lettuce.

Common varieties are Romaine, iceberg, and butter lettuce.

The name of the plant in English, lettuce, and in Latin, lactuca, come from lactis, the Latin word for milk, because the juice of the plant looks like milk.

History of lettuce

Wild lettuce plants were eaten by the Romans and Egyptians. The ancient Greeks were among the first people to grow lettuce as a crop. It was one of the first plants brought to the New World by Christopher Columbus.

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