While most plants are bontanically categorized by their inflorescence, lettuce requires additional categorization because it is grown for its vegetative parts.Therefore, it is keyed by its leaf arrangement and flavors. Here are the types of lettuces:
- Leaf – (aka looseleaf, cutting or bunching lettuce) – has loosely bunched leaves and is the most widely planted. It is used mainly for salads.
- Romaine/Cos – Used mainly for salads and sandwiches, this type forms long, upright heads.This is used in Caesar salads.
- Crisphead – (aka iceberg) lettuce – is very heat-sensitive and was once the king of the Salinas Valley. It ships well, but is low in flavor and nutritional content, being composed of even more water than other lettuce types.
- Butter – (aka Boston or Bibb) – is a head lettuce with a loose arrangement of leaves, known for its sweet flavor and tender texture.
- Woju (莴苣), a lettuce variety grown for its stem used in Chinese cooking
- Summercrisp – (aka Batavian or French Crisp) is midway between the crisphead and leaf types. These lettuces tend to be larger, bolt-resistant and well-flavored.
- Stem – This type is grown for its seedstalk, rather than its leaves, and is used in Asian cooking, primarily Chinese, as well as stewed and creamed dishes.
- Oilseed – This type is grown for its seeds, which are pressed to extract an oil mainly used for cooking. It has few leaves, bolts quickly and produces seeds around 50 percent larger than other types of lettuce.