Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 59, Issue 8, pp 1805–1822 | Cite as

Wild and weedy Lactuca species, their distribution, ecogeography and ecobiology in USA and Canada

  • Aleš Lebeda
  • Ivana Doležalová
  • Alžběta Novotná
Research Article


During 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008, trips were undertaken in the United States and Canada by members of the Department of Botany, Palacký University in Olomouc (Czech Republic) to record distributions and sample the diversity of wild and weedy Lactuca species. In that period, 16 states in the USA (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming) and two provinces in Canada (Ontario, Quebec) were visited. Seven wild and weedy Lactuca species (L. serriola, L. saligna, L. virosa, L. canadensis, L. biennis, L. floridana, L. ludoviciana), an interspecific hybrid (L. canadensis × L. ludoviciana), and an undetermined Lactuca species were recorded, and 343 seed samples were collected from 200 locations. The largest number of wild Lactuca species that we observed was recorded in Iowa, and the largest number of samples was collected in California. The most common habitats of weedy species (L. serriola, L. saligna and L. virosa) were along transport corridors, such as roadsides, road ditches, parking sites and petrol stations, grassy slopes and ruderal places. The most frequent species was L. serriola, an Old World introduction, which we observed in all states and provinces visited, except for New York, and in broad range of elevations (up to 2,358 m a.s.l.). Lactuca saligna was recorded only one time in Salinas, California. Lactuca virosa was found repeatedly in Washington State along the road to the Mt. St. Helens and in Redwoods, California. Native North American taxa (L. canadensis, L. floridana, L. ludoviciana) were recorded only in Iowa. Lactuca biennis was found only in Canada in the southern part of Quebec. Records of diseases and pests showed only occasional occurrences of downy mildew (Bremia lactucae) and powdery mildew (Golovinomyces cichoracearum). Most plant-disease findings were made in Canada. Results of these efforts enrich our knowledge of the distribution, ecogeography and ecobiology of Lactuca species occurring spontaneously in North America. Seed collections (accessions) will be conserved in the working collection of the genebank at Palacký University to support future research in ecogeography, ecobiology, resistance and genetic polymorphisms, and to enrich of germplasm diversity available for lettuce breeding.


Downy mildew Ecology Geography Habitats Lactuca Morphological variation North America Powdery mildew Wild lettuce 



The authors are very grateful to Dr. Mark Widrlechner (Iowa State University, Plant Introduction Station, Ames, Iowa, USA) and Dr. Jake Alexander (ETH Zurich, Switzerland) for their critical reading of the first draft of this manuscript. The research was supported by projects of Czech Ministry of Education (MSM 153100010 and MSM 6198959215).


  1. Alexander JM, Naylor B, Poll M, Edwards PJ, Dietz H (2009a) Plant invasions along mountain roads: the altitudinal amplitude of alien Asteraceae forbs in their native and introduced ranges. Ecography 32:334–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alexander JM, Poll M, Dietz H, Edwards PJ (2009b) Contrasting patterns of genetic variation and structure in plant invasions of mountains. Divers Distrib 15:502–512CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Babcock EB, Stebbins GL, Jenkins JA (1937) Chromosomes and phylogeny in some genera of the Crepidinae. Cytologia (Tokyo) Fujii Jubilee :188–210Google Scholar
  4. Beharav A, Ben-David R, Doležalová I, Lebeda A (2008) Eco-geographical distribution of Lactuca saligna natural populations in Israel. Israel J Plant Sci 56:195–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bremer K, Anderberg AA, Karis PO, Nordenstam B, Lundberg J, Ryding O (1994) Asteraceae: cladistics and classification. Timber Press, Portland, ORGoogle Scholar
  6. Carter RN, Prince SD (1982) A history of the taxonomy treatment of unlobed-leaved prickly lettuce, Lactuca serriola L., in Britain. Watsonia 14:59–62Google Scholar
  7. Clapham AR, Tutin TG, Warburg EF (1962) Flora of the British Isles. Botanical Society of the British Isles, LondonGoogle Scholar
  8. Cronquist A (1955) Compositae. In: Hitchcock CL, Cronquist A, Owenby M, Thompson JW (eds) Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 5, University of Washington Press, Seattle, pp 1–343Google Scholar
  9. Cronquist A (1980) Vascular flora of the southern United State. Vol. I, Asteraceaes. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel HillGoogle Scholar
  10. D’Andrea L, Broennimann O, Kozlowski G, Guisan A, Morin X, Keller-Senften J, Felber F (2009) Climate change, anthropogenic disturbance and the northward range expansion of Lactuca serriola (Asteraceae). J Biogeogr 36:1573–1587CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Doležalová I, Lebeda A, Křístková E (2001) Prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola L.) germplasm collecting and distribution study in Slovenia and Sweden. Plant Genet Resour Newsl 128:41–44Google Scholar
  12. Doležalová I, Lebeda A, Janeček J, Číhalíková J, Křístková E, Vránová O (2002) Variation in chromosome numbers and nuclear DNA contents in genetic resources of Lactuca L. species (Asteraceae). Genet Resour Crop Evol 49:383–395Google Scholar
  13. Feráková V (1977) The genus Lactuca L. in Europe. Komenský University Press, Bratislava (Czechoslovakia)Google Scholar
  14. Franklin J (2009) Mapping species distributions. Spatial inference and prediction. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  15. Frietema de Vries FT, Van der Meijden R, Brandenburg WA (1994) Botanical files on lettuce (Lactuca sativa). Gorteria Suppl 2:1–34Google Scholar
  16. Funk VA, Susanna A, Stuessy TF, Bayer RJ (eds) (2009) Systematics, evolution and biogeography of compositae. International Association for Plant Taxonomy, Vienna, AustriaGoogle Scholar
  17. Gleason HA, Cronquist A (1963) Manual of vascular plants of Northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. Van Nostrand, Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
  18. Guarino L, Maxted N, Sawkins MC (1999) Analysis of georeferenced data and the conservation and use of plant genetic resources. In: Greene SL, Guarino L (eds) Linking genetic resources and geography: emerging strategies for conserving and using crop biodiversity. CSSA Special Publication Number 27. American Society of Agronomy, Inc. and Crop Science Society of America, Inc., Madison, Wisconsin, USA, pp 1–24Google Scholar
  19. Hegi G (ed) (1987) Illustrierte Flora von Mitteleuropa, Vol 6, Part 4. Verlag Paul Parey, Berlin, pp 1113–1134Google Scholar
  20. Hickman JC (ed) (1993) The jepson manual: higher plants of California. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  21. Hooftman DAP, Oostermeijer JGB, den Nijs JCM (2006) Invasive behaviour of Lactuca serriola (Asteraceae) in the Netherlands: Spatial distribution and ecological amplitude. Basic Appl Ecol 7:507–519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hultén E (1968) Flora of Alaska and Neighboring Territories. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  23. Kartesz TJ (1994) A synonymized checklist of the Vascular Flora of the United States, Canada and Greenland, vol 1, 2nd ed. Timber Press, Portland, ORGoogle Scholar
  24. Kitner M, Maras M, Lebeda A, Meglič V, Šmachová P, Novotná A, Doležalová I (2009) Genetic diversity analysis of wild Lactuca serriola germplasm collection from North America assessed by AFLP. In: Goličnik M, Bavec A (eds) Book of abstracts of the joint congress of the Slovenian Biochemical Society and the Genetic Society of Slovenia with international participation; Otočec, September 20–23, 2009, Slovenian Biochemical Society and Genetic Society of Slovenia, Ljubljana, p 175Google Scholar
  25. Lebeda A (1994) Evaluation of wild Lactuca species for resistance of natural infection of powdery mildew (Erysiphe cichoracearum). Genet Resour Crop Evol 41:55–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lebeda A, Astley D (1999) World genetic ressource of Lactuca spp., their taxonomy and biodiversity. In: Lebeda A, Křístková E (eds) Eucarpia Leafy Vegetables ′99, Proceedings of the Eucarpia Meeting of Leafy Vegetables Genetics and Breeding. Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic, pp 81–94Google Scholar
  27. Lebeda A, Doležalová I, Křístková E, Vinter V, Vránová O, Doležal K, Tarkowski P, Petrželová I, Trávníček B, Novotný R, Janeček J (1999) Complex research of taxonomy and ecobiology of wild Lactuca spp. genetic resources. In: Lebeda A, Křístková E (eds) Eucarpia Leafy Vegetables ′99, Proceedings of the Eucarpia meeting of leafy vegetables genetics and breeding. Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic, pp 117–131Google Scholar
  28. Lebeda A, Doležalová I, Křístková E, Mieslerová B (2001) Biodiversity and ecogeography of wild Lactuca spp. in some European countries. Genet Resour Crop Evol 48:153–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lebeda A, Pink DAC, Astley D (2002) Aspects of the interactions between wild Lactuca spp. and related genera and lettuce downy mildew (Bremia lactucae). In: Spencer-Phillips PTN, Gisi U, Lebeda A (eds) Advances in downy mildew research. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp 85–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lebeda A, Doležalová I, Astley D (2004a) Representation of wild Lactuca spp. (Asteraceae, Lactuceae) in world genebank collections. Genet Resour Crop Evol 51:167–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lebeda A, Doležalová I, Feráková V, Astley D (2004b) Geographical distribution of wild Lactuca species (Asteraceae, Lactuceae). Bot Rev 70:328–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lebeda A, Doležalová I, Křístková E, Dehmer KJ, Astley D, van de Wiel CCM, van Treuren R (2007a) Acquisition and ecological characterization of Lactuca serriola L. germplasm collected in the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands and United Kingdom. Genet Resour Crop Evol 54:555–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lebeda A, Ryder EJ, Grube R, Doležalová I, Křístková E (2007b) Lettuce (Asteraceae; Lactuca spp.), Chapter 9. In: Singh R (ed) Genetic resources, chromosome engineering, and crop improvement, vol 3—vegetable crops. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, pp 377–472Google Scholar
  34. Lebeda A, Petrželová I, Maryška Z (2008a) Structure and variation in the wild-plant pathosystem; Lactuca serriolaBremia lactucae. Europ J Plant Pathol 122:127–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lebeda A, Sedlářová M, Petřivalský M, Prokopová J (2008b) Diversity of defence mechanisms in plant-oomycete interactions: a case study of Lactuca spp. and Bremia lactucae. Europ J Plant Pathol 122:71–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lebeda A, Doležalová I, Křístková E, Kitner M, Petrželová I, Mieslerová B, Novotná A (2009a) Wild Lactuca germplasm for lettuce breeding: recent status, gaps and challenges. Euphytica 170:15–34. doi: 10.1007/s10681-009-9914-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lebeda A, Kitner M, Dziechciarková M, Doležalová I, Křıstková E, Lindhout P (2009b) An insight into the genetic polymorphism among European populations of Lactuca serriola assessed by AFLP. Biochem Syst Ecol 37:597–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lebeda A, Doležalová I, Kitner M, Novotná A, Widrlechner MP (2011) North American Continent—a new source of wild Lactuca spp. germplasm variability for future lettuce breeding. Acta Horticulturae (in press)Google Scholar
  39. Liogier HA (1997) Descriptive Flora of Puerto Rico and Adjacent Islands. Spermatophyta-Dicotyledonae, vol V, Acanthaceae to Compositae. Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto RicoGoogle Scholar
  40. Maxted N, Ford-Lloyd BV, Hawkes JG (1997) Complementary conservation strategies. In: Maxted N et al (eds) Plant genetic conservation: the in situ approach. Chapman and Hall, London, England, pp 15–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McGregor RL, Barkley TM, Brooks RE, Schofield EK (1986) Flora of the Great Plains. University Press of Kansas, LawrenceGoogle Scholar
  42. Mejías JA (1993) Cytotaxonomic studies in the Iberian taxa of the genus Lactuca (Compositae). Bot Helvet 103:113–130Google Scholar
  43. Mejías JA (1994) Self-fertility and associated flower head traits in the Iberian taxa of Lactuca and related genera (Asteraceae: Lactuceae). Plant Syst Evol 191:147–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Meusel H, Jäger EJ (1992) Vergleichende Chorologie der Zentraleuropäischen Flora. Gustav Fischer, JenaGoogle Scholar
  45. Mieslerová B, Petrželová I, Lebeda A, Česneková E (2007) Occurrence of lettuce downy mildew and powdery mildew in natural populations of prickly lettuce. In: Lebeda A, Spencer-Phillips PTN (eds) Advances in downy mildew research, vol 3, proceedings of the 2nd international downy mildews symposium. Palacký University in Olomouc and JOLA, v.o.s., Kostelec na Hané (Czech Republic), pp 59–64Google Scholar
  46. Mou B (2008) Lettuce. In: Prohens J, Nuez F (eds) Handbook of plant breeding. Vegetables I. Asteraceae, Brassicaceae, Chenopodiaceae, and Cucurbitaceae. Springer Science, New York, pp 75–116Google Scholar
  47. Nessler CL (1976) A systematic survey of the tribe Cichorieae in Virginia. Castanea 41:226–248Google Scholar
  48. Petrželová I, Lebeda A (2004) Occurrence of Bremia lactucae in natural populations of Lactuca serriola. J Phytopathol 152:391–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Petrželová I, Lebeda A (2011) Distribution of race-specific resistance against Bremia lactucae in natural populations of Lactuca serriola. Europ J Plant Pathol 129:101–121Google Scholar
  50. Prince DS, Carter RN (1977) Prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola L.) in Britain. Watsonia 11:331–338Google Scholar
  51. Radford AE, Ahles HE, Bell CR (1968) Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel HillGoogle Scholar
  52. Stebbins GL (1939) Notes of Lactuca in western North America. Madroño 5:123–126Google Scholar
  53. Steyermark JA (1963) Flora of Missouri. Iowa State University Press, Ames, IowaGoogle Scholar
  54. Strausbaugh PD, Core EL (1978) Flora of West Virginia, 2nd edn. Seneca Books Inc., Grantsville, WVGoogle Scholar
  55. Strother JL (2006) 45. Lactuca. In: Editorial Committee (eds) Flora of North America north of Mexico, vol 19. Magnoliophyta: Asteridae, part 6: Asteraceae, part 1. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 259–263Google Scholar
  56. Weaver SE, Downs MP (2003) The biology of Canadian weeds. 122. Lactuca serriola L. Can J Plant Sci 83:619–628CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Weaver SE, Cluney K, Downs M, Page E (2006) Prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola) interference and seed production in soybeans and winter wheat. Weed Sci 54:496–503CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aleš Lebeda
    • 1
  • Ivana Doležalová
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alžběta Novotná
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Botany, Faculty of SciencePalacký University in OlomoucOlomoucCzech Republic
  2. 2.Centre of Applied Research of Vegetables and Special Crops of the Crop Research InstituteOlomoucCzech Republic

Personalised recommendations