Mulgedium pulchellum (Pursh) G. Don in R. Sweet

Russia blue lettuce

Copyright: various copyright holders. To reuse an image, please click it to see who you will need to contact.

New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

Found this plant? Take a photo and post a sighting.

North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

enlarge

Facts About

Russia blue lettuce is widespread but sparse or overlooked in North America. However, in New England it is introduced, and it has been collected only in Maine and Massachusetts.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats)

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
Leaf type
leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
  • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
  • basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
Leaf blade edges
  • the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
  • the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
  • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
Flower type in flower heads
the flower head has ray flowers only, meaning all of the individual flowers of the flower head have a strap-shaped ray, which may or may not have teeth at the very tip of the ray
Ray flower color
  • blue to purple
  • yellow
Tuft or plume on fruit
at least a part of the plume is made up of fine bristles
Spines on plant
the plant has no spines
Leaf blade length
10–180 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Bract cycle number
    • there are two main cycles of bracts
    • there is one main cycle of bracts
    Bract inner side hairs
    the bracts are not hairy on their inner surfaces
    Bract outer side hair type
    the bracts are not hairy on their outer surface
    Bract outer side hairs
    the bracts are not hairy on their outer surfaces
    Bract shape
    • the main bracts are lanceolate (widest above the base, then taper narrowly towards the tip)
    • the main bracts are linear (long and very narrow)
    Bract tip shape
    the tips of the bracts acute (have a sharp point)
    Bracts
    the bracts in separate cycles are similar or gradually changing from the outer to inner cycles
    Disk flower color
    NA
    Disk flower lobe number
    NA
    Disk flower proportions
    NA
    Disk flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Disk flower shape
    NA
    Flower head outer flowers
    at the outer edge of the flower head, each flower has a single enlarged lobe or strap
    Flower head platform
    the base has no bristles or papery scales
    Flower head profile
    the disk is flat or nearly flat across the top
    Flower head shape
    the sides of the flower head are roughly parallel, like a cylinder
    Flower type in flower heads
    the flower head has ray flowers only, meaning all of the individual flowers of the flower head have a strap-shaped ray, which may or may not have teeth at the very tip of the ray
    Height of flower head base
    12–20 mm
    Inflorescence branching (Solidago)
    NA
    Inflorescence shape
    • the inflorescence is flat-topped in profile
    • the inflorescence is not flat-topped but appears rounded, with some flower heads distinctly higher than others
    Inflorescence stem
    the stem of the inflorescence is not hairy
    Number of bracts at flower head base
    At least 8
    Ovary beak
    • there is a beak on the ovary
    • there is no beak on the ovary
    Ovary cross-section
    the ovary is compressed (flattened)
    Ovary hair type
    the ovary has no hairs on it
    Ovary hairs
    the ovary has no hairs on it
    Ovary lines or ribs
    there are four to six lines or ribs visible on the ovary
    Ovary profile
    in profile, the ovary is lanceolate (widest below the middle, tapering to both ends)
    Ovary surface
    the ovary surface is textured with tiny points, bumps or wrinkles
    Peduncle hair type
    NA
    Peduncle hairs
    the peduncles have no hairs
    Ray flower color
    • blue to purple
    • yellow
    Ray flower reproductive parts
    the ray flowers have both carpels and stamens
    Ray flowers
    • 11-15
    • 16-25
    • 26-50
    • more than 50
    Reproductive system
    NA
    Rim at top of ovary
    the central flowers have a disk-shaped platform above the ovary
    Smaller bracts at base of bracts
    there is no smaller, outer cycle of bracts
    Swelling at base of flower head
    the peduncles are not swollen, or only slightly
    Width of flower head base
    At least 2 mm
  • Fruits or seeds
    Number of pappus parts
    11 or more
    Ovary beak length
    0–1 mm
    Ovary length in developed fruit
    4–6 mm
    Seed hair tuft color
    the pappus hairs are white or off-white
    Seed hair tuft details
    the pappus hairs are smooth and plain
    Seed hair tuft length
    8–11 mm
    Seed hair tuft tips
    the pappus hairs are slender
    Seed tuft type
    the pappus is made of very fine hairs or bristles
    Top of disk flower ovary
    NA
    Tuft or plume on fruit
    at least a part of the plume is made up of fine bristles
  • Glands or sap
    Sap
    the sap is milky and opaque, and may be white or colored
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant has one or more free-standing stems
    Plant lifespan
    the plant is perennial, it shows evidence of previous year's leaves, stems or stem bases
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
    Underground organs
    the plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
  • Leaves
    Hairs on underside of leaf blade
    the underside of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf arrangement
    • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    • basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
    Leaf blade base
    • the leaf has a distinct petiole
    • the leaf has no petiole
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    Leaf blade bloom
    there is a noticeable powdery or waxy bloom on the underside of the leaf
    Leaf blade edges
    • the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
    • the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
    • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    Leaf blade hairs
    NA
    Leaf blade length
    10–180 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is elliptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is linear (very narrow with more or less parallel sides)
    • the leaf blade is oblong (rectangular but with rounded ends)
    • the leaf blade is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
    Leaf blade width
    5–35 mm
    Leaf disposition
    the leaves are nearly similar in size, prominence of teeth, and length of stalks throughout the stem
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    • the leaves have leaf stalks
    • the leaves have no leaf stalks, but attach directly to the stem
    Leaf type
    leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Specific leaf type
    • the leaf has a row of two or more lobes on each side of the central axis
    • the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    Specific habitat
    man-made or disturbed habitats
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Stem internode hair direction
    NA
    Stem internode hair type
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Stem internode hairs
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
absent
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
absent
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

None

Native to North America?

Yes and no (some introduced)

Sometimes Confused With

Lactuca biennis:
plants annual or biennial, without rhizomes, involucre 7-12 mm long in flower, becoming 12-15 mm long in fruit, and leaf blades usually lobed with several to many teeth on each lobe (vs. M. pulchellum, the plants perennial, from deep-seated rhizomes, involucre 12–15 mm long in flower, becoming 15–20 mm in fruit, and leaf blades entire to lobed, but usually without teeth on the lobes).

Family

Asteraceae

Genus

Mulgedium

Need Help?

Get Help

Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Mulgedium pulchellum (Pursh) G. Don in R. Sweet E

Russia blue lettuce. Lactuca pulchella (Pursh) DC.; L. tatarica (L.) C.A. Mey. ssp. pulchella (Pursh) Stebbins; L. tatarica (L.) C.A. Mey. var. pulchella (Pursh) Breitung; Sonchus pulchellus Pursh • MA, ME. Waste areas, yards, roadsides.