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FutureStarrA Lactuca Lettuce
called lactucarium or "lettuce opium". Although the standard definition of lactucarium requires its production from Lactuca virosa or "wild lettuce", it was recognized that smaller quantities of lactucarium could be produced in a similar way from Lactuca sativa and Lactuca canadensis var. elongata, and that lettuce-opium obtained from Lactuca serriola or Lactuca quercina was of superior quality. The agrotechnical methods of biofortification of plants, i.e., enriching them in iodine (I) and selenium (Se) could be effective methods to enrich food products in these elements. The advantage of agrotechnical methods of biofortification is the incorporation of elements in organic compounds in plants; therefore, they have better health-promoting properties than pure technical salts. Two-year studies were conducted in a greenhouse with hydroponic cultivation of three botanical varieties of lettuce in an NFT (nutrient film technique) system: two cultivars butterhead lettuces (abb. BUTL) ‘Cud Voorburgu’ and ‘ZimujaÌ¨ca,’ two cultivars iceberg lettuces (abb. ICEL) ‘Maugli’ and ‘Królowa lata’ (all this four cultivars are classified as Lactuca sativa L. var. capitata) as well two cultivars Lactuca sativa L. var. crispa L. cultivars (abb. REDL) ‘Lollo rossa’ and ‘Redin’ having little red leaves. The study included the application of I (as KIO
Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) is a domestic annual species in the family Asteraceae (Compositae) cultivated mainly for its fleshy leaves. It forms within the genus Lactuca a somewhat isolated genetic compatibility group with three wild species that also have nine pairs of chromosomes, L. serriola, L. saligna and L. virosa (Thompson et al. 1941; Thompson 1943). Its relationship with L. serriola appears to be very close, having morphologically identical chromosomes that may be largely homologous and with no apparent obstacles to gene flow between them. There are marked sterility barriers between L. saligna on one side and L. serriola and L. sativa on the other, but gene exchange is possible. The genetic relationship with L. virosa is more distant. There are clear differences between it and the three other species in chromosome morphology, and gene exchange is very difficult (Lindqvist 1960b).
Lettuce grows best in full sun to part shade and rich, moist, well-drained soils. Optimal pH ranges from 6.0-6.7. Lettuces grow best in the cool weather of spring and fall; in NC's hot summers, the plants appreciate having some shade so long as they can get 3-4 hrs of sun a day. They have high water requirements along with shallow root systems and need consistently moist soil for proper growth and flavor. Both high temperatures (70-80 F) and dry soil can trigger plants to bolt and flower, turning the leaves bitter and stopping leaf production. Consider planting heat-tolerant varieties if growing lettuce in warm climates– leaf and butterhead types tolerate heat better than romaine, which itself does better in heat than head lettuce. (Source: plants.ces.ncsu.edu)