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Rough White Lettuce


Common Name Rough White Lettuce or Rough Rattlesnake-root

Latin Name: Prenanthes aspera

[Pronounced: "pree-NAN-thees ASP-er-ah"]

Type of Plant: Prairie Forb

Identification Helps: Moderate to tall, to 5-ft, with inconspicuous cream-colored 1-inch flowers along stem toward the top. The stem is rough.

Similar Species: Prenanthes racemosa, Smooth White Lettuce, is very similar (and much more common), with smooth stems.

Preferred Growing Conditions in the Wild: This prairie forb tends to grow only in lighter, well-drained soils.

Seasons of Growth and Bloom: This forb blooms at the end of the prairie blooming season, in August and September.

Natural Distribution in Ohio: Rough White Lettuce is one of Ohio's rarest prairie plants, with only a few locations in Adams County and a single population of about 45 plants in Erie County.

Description and General Information: Prenanthes aspera can be easily overlooked. It has a single long stem, with non-showy cream flowers along the upper portions. The reasons for the plant's rarity in Ohio are unknown.

The plant is listed by the Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves as an Endangered Species.