Lactuca indica L.

Lactuca indica L.




Lactuca brevirostris Champ. ex Benth.

Vernacular Names


Daun panjang.


Indian lettuce.


Komak, lampenas (Sundanese), sawi rana (Javanese).


Gilgiloy (Bisaya), batudan (Bontoc), gatu­dan (Kankanai).


Di[ees]p d[aj]i, rau b[oof] c[os]c, b[oof] c[oo]ng anh.

Geographical Distributions

Lactuca indi­ca is native to the warmer parts of China, Taiwan, and southern Japan, where it occurs wild and cul­tivated. It has been introduced into Southeast Asia, probably by Chinese immigrants, and is rel­atively common in Indonesia and Malaysia, where it sometimes occurs as an escape from cultivation.


Lactuca indi­ca is a perennial, erect, tillering, laticiferous herb, with radical rosette when young and grows up to 2 m tall when flowering.

The leaves are arranged alternate, sessile, ob­long-Ianceolate, very variable in shape and dimen­sion, with narrowed base and acute apex, measuring 5-35 cm x 1-10 cm and often with a red midrib.

The inflorescence is terminal, paniculiform or corymbiform, measures 50-100 cm long, many-branched and with numerous relatively small (2 cm x 5-7 mm) flower heads. The involucral bracts are partly ovate (outer ones) and partly oblong-lin­ear-Ianceolate (inner ones). The flowers are with ligule, bright yellow, patent or obliquely erect.

The fruit is one-seeded, flat, elliptical, measuring 3-4 mm x 2 mm, black, shortly beaked, hard and at the top with a tuft of white hairs.

Ecology / Cultivation

Lactuca indi­ca is cultivated from the lowlands up to 2000 m altitude. Sometimes, it grows wild as an escape from cultivation in ravines, waste places, fields and forest    borders, roadsides, and plantations of perennial crops. It prefers fertile, well-drained soils with a high or­ganic matter content, but tolerates a wide range of soils.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 8: Vegetables.