University of Florida

Plant Identification Learning Module:

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)

Lettuce plants grow as a loose or firm rosette of leaves. As the plant matures, the leaves increase in number.

Crisphead (Iceberg)—Large firm and round heads are surrounded by broad green overlapping wrapper leaves attached at the bottom.
head of iceberg lettuce

Leaf—Heads are loosely formed with leaves varying greatly in color (red, bronze, yellow, green), size and shape (wavy, notched or frilled).
Leaf lettuce plant

Butterhead—Heads are soft, velvety smooth, surrounded by green wrapper leaves.
Butterhead or Boston lettuce
Boston Lettuce, Grateful Farm, Franklin Massachusetts. Photo by Susan Speers.

Romaine (Cos)—Leaves with prominent central ribs are gathered in a loose fashion to form an upright head similar to Chinese cabbage.
Romaine lettuce

Lettuce seeds are small, tapered at each end and may be straw or black in color.
Lettuce seeds