Carl Motsenbocker, Cummins, Denyse B., Frelier, Johannah
Lettuce is a member of the Asteraceae family, also known as the aster or sunflower family, which includes crops such as globe artichokes and endive, but also garden ornamentals like sunflowers, dahlias, marigolds and zinnias. Cultivated lettuce likely developed from wild lettuce from the Mediterranean area of the Middle East and was first recorded in ancient Egypt around 2500 B.C. in tomb paintings but may have been as early as 4500 B.C. This original lettuce had two main types: one with much thicker stems (like celery) and another that produced seeds used for cooking oil. The stem lettuces (similar to present-day romaine lettuce) were documented in China between the 5th and 7th centuries.
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The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture