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Prickly Lettuces

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The following bulletin was issued frora the Botanical department of the Michigan experimental station: HISTORY. This plant is one of' the most vigorous weeds that has ever appeared in our state. During the past few years it has spread from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Soon after the close of the war .of the rebellion this weed was introduced to this country from Europe and was first observed growing in waste places near Cambridge, Mass. Traveling rapidly westward it reached Ohio in 1878. In 1882 it was noticed in Detroit, reaching Owosso in 1887 and Grand Rapids the next year. During the past six years this weed has spread throughout the whole state, and now from its strongholds in the waste places about our cities and villages it is invading farming communities. Prickly Lettuce is the wild parent of our cultivated lettuce and in its native land has never shown any of the vicious tendencies it is now exhibitingin the land of its adoption. Here it seems to want the earth, and it has evidentlv come to stay. From numerous lnquiries lately received by the station, in regard to this plant, it seems that possibly many people fear that this weed is the dreaded Russian Thistle. However, there s no record that this western pest, which is in no respect like Prickly Lettuce, has ever been seen east of Lake MicHgan. DESCRIPTION. Prickly Lettuce is an annual plant from two to five feet high, with numerous slender branches towards the upper part of the stiff, solid stem, which when broken or cut poursout a milky juice. The bluish green leaves have a row of prickles or bristles on the under side, along the mid-rib and by a twist near the base assume a vertical position by which the plant may be easily recognized. Flowers are yellow, in small heads, generally appearing late in July, producing from twelve to twenty flat brown-black, ridged seeds, having parachute-like attachments by which the wind is able to carry them a long distance. REMEDY. Cut the plants close to the ground early in July, before the blossoms appear. New branches will immediately spring up from the cut sterns so that repeated cuttings must be made later in the season. It is not probable that this pest wil! ever prove troublesome in meadows or in well tilled fields, but in all waste places, especially in vacant lots in cities and villages, it will become a continually increasing nuisance unless speedily stamped out.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News