Lettuce Has a Long Pedigree

  • 550 B. C. Herodotus reported an anecdote that lettuce appeared at the royal tables of the Persian kings.
  • 430 B. C. Its medicinal properties as a food-plant were noted by Hippocrates.
  • 356 B. C. It was praised by Aristotle. 
  • 322 B. C. It was described by Theophrastus and Dioscorides.
  • 42 A. D.: Among the Romans, the  Columella, Caecilian, Cappadocian, Cyprian and Tartesan varieties of lettuce were very popular. 
  • 79 A. D. Pliny enumerates the Alba, Caecilian, Cappadocian, Crispa, Graeca, Laconicon, Nigra, Purpurea and Rubens varieties.
  • 164 A. D. It was mentioned by Galen, who describes its general use. 
  • 210 A. D. Palladius mentions the process of blanching.  
  • 101 A. D. Martial  gives to the lettuces of Cappadocia the term viles, or cheap, implying abundance. 
  • 400s A.D. Its presence can be identified in China.
  • About 1340: In England, Chaucer,  uses the word in his prologue, “ell loved the garlic, onions and lettuce,”
  • 1538: Lettuce is likewise mentioned by Turner, who spells the word lettuse. 
  • 1492: Christopher Columbus brought lettuce to the New World
  • 1494: It is mentioned by Peter Martyr as cultivated on Isabela Island.
  • 1538: Lettuce is likewise mentioned by Turner, who spells the word lettuse. 
  • 1565:  Benzoni speaks of lettuce as abounding in Haiti.
  • 1647: Nieuhoff saw it cultivated in Brazil. 
  • 1806: McMahon catalogs American gardens sorts of lettuces.
  • 1828: Thorburn’s seed catalog offered 13 kinds of lettuces.
  • 1881: there are 23 kinds of documented domestic lettuce varieties.
  • 1883: Vilmorin describes 113  kinds of distinct varieties.
  • 1885: In the report of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station. 87 varieties are described with 585 names of synonyms.
Reposted from Kay Mercer’s  March 13, 2013 6:26am Facebook post 
Henriette’s Herbal Homepage, Welcome to the Back Side. Lactuca alpina, Lactuca scariola. Information based on Hedrick, ed., 1919 Sturtevant’s Edible Plants of the World.  https://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/sturtevant/lactuca.html