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LACTUCA sativa 'Black Seeded Simpson'

Image of Lactuca sativa 'Black Seeded Simpson'

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Asteraceae

Botanical Name

LACTUCA sativa 'Black Seeded Simpson'

Plant Common Name

Garden Lettuce, Looseleaf Lettuce

General Description

The heirloom looseleaf lettuce, ‘Black Seeded Simpson’, was first introduced around 1850 and is still popular today. Its large, crinkly, bright green leaves form loose heads that are heat tolerant and slow to bolt. This is one of the best varieties to replant for a continuous harvest. The leaves are ready to harvest 40 to 50 days after planting and heads can be harvested in 60 to 65 days.

Lettuce is a cool season, annual vegetable and there are many forms, colors and types. Loosehead or butterhead lettuce is a garden favorite with smooth, thin, buttery leaves and looser heads. When temperatures warm up, the whole leafy clump elongates and grows upwards. At this stage they are no longer good eating. When fully elongated they become topped with tall branched stems covered with pale yellow flowers followed by fluffy white seedheads. Seed savers should collect the mature seeds for another planting.

In temperate zones lettuce is favored as a spring and fall crop and in frost-free, southern zones it is grown as a winter crop. Full sun and light, fertile, nutrient-rich soil and regular water are needed for good production and performance. Plant lettuce seeds in succession for a longer harvest period. Looseleaf types are typically harvested leaf by leaf. Just gather some of the attractive outer leaves and allow the plant to continue to grow until maturity. Once plants begin to bolt, pull them or allow them to set seed for collection.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vegetable

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    8"-10" / 20.3cm - 25.4cm

  • Width

    10"-14" / 25.4cm - 35.6cm

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Northern Europe, Northern Africa, Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Light Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Light Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes