Lettuce ( Lactuca sativa ) Annual or Biennial Plant Height : 12cm to 33cm included Origin : Mediterranean Environment : open land, in full sun or half shade, on fresh, rich, fertile well-drained soil Climate : Warm, temperate. Cold-resistant
Notes : An ancient crop, Lettuce was used for food in the Mediterranean basin for at least 4500 years. The name 'Lactuca' comes from Latin lactis (milk), and hints at the milkish white juice of the plant, whose mild opiate-like properties were known by Romans and Egyptians, who used to eat Lettuce at the end of the meals to induce sleep. Lettuce is rich in minerals and their pigmented varieties also contain antioxidants. It is an important crop in Europe, but a minor one in the USA, with approximately 78,000 acres produced annually in California.