Lactuca Virosa (Wild Lettuce)
It is harvested in the summer when it is in flower. That's when the plant put it's energy in mating. How long it will live depends on your growing season. Lactuca virosa is the botanical name of the plant more commonly known as opium lettuce. Other common names for Lactuca virosa include bitter lettuce, laitue vireuse, poisonous lettuce, and wild lettuce. It is part of the Asteraceae family of plants. The Asteraceae family (commonly known as the daisy or sunflower family) is made up of over 20,000 species and 1,100 genera. The Lactuca genus is made up of about 100 species including Lactuca sativa (more commonly known as garden lettuce) that is often used for food. In medical practice, Lactuca virosa has been used for over a thousand years as a substitute for opium. The Arab physician that introduced opium to Islamic medicine (Avicenna 980-1036) wrote that the Lactuca virosa produced opium that was similar, but mild in comparison to real opium. As a food, Lactuca virosa has a history of being used in salads. Scientific Classification Of Lactuca virosa Kingdom: Plantae Division: Magnoliophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Order: Asterales Family: Asteraceae Genus: Lactuca Species: Lactuca virosa The dried leaves (foliage) are most often smoked in a joint or pipe. Care should be taken to remove any bark and stem if you will be rolling the leaves into a joint or it will not burn properly. The psychoactive effects are similar but very mild and short lasting when compared to smoking real opium. Anyone used to smoking opium will not be impressed, but Lactuca virosa can be a good introduction to the effects of opium for someone who has never tried it before.