Wild Lettice.

Botanical name: 

Also see Lettice.

Lactuca sylvestris major.

A common plant in our hedges, and having some resemblance to the garden lettice in its flowers, though not in its manner of growth. It is six or seven feet high. The stalk is thick, round, very upright, branched, and of a pale yellowish green colour. The leaves at the bottom are very large, a foot long and five inches broad, and of a pale green colour; those higher up the stalks are smaller, they are deeply indented at the edges, and either these, the stalk, or any other part of the plant being wounded, there flows out a milky juice, which has the smell of opium, and its hot bitter taste: the branches are very numerous, and the flowers are also very numerous, but they are small and of a pale yellow.

This is a plant not introduced into the common practice, but very worthy of that notice. I have known it used in private families, with great success. A syrup made from a strong infusion of it, is an excellent anodyne; it eases the most violent pain in colics, and other disorders, and gently disposes the person to sleep. It has the good effect of a gentle opiate, and none of the bad ones of that violent medicine.

The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.