Plants That Look Like Lettuce

Top 10 Plants That Look Like Lettuce! (Updated)

Lettuce is a popular vegetable at mealtimes and is easy to grab from the grocery store or grow in your own garden! If you’re looking to grow lettuce to eat, it can be useful to know other plants that look like lettuce.

While some of these are edible without much issue, others can be unsafe to eat or handle without the proper preparation.

Lettuce is known for its distinctive shape and vibrant green color, but there are many other plants out there that share these same features and can easily be mistaken for lettuce. In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 plants that look like lettuce, so you can expand your knowledge of these leafy greens.

Here are 10 plants that look like lettuce:

  • Wild Lettuce
  • Sow Thistle
  • Dandelion
  • Blue Wild Lettuce
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Prickly Lettuce
  • Chicory
  • Cat’s Ear
  • Echeveria
  • Bluff Lettuce

If you want to know more about each of these entries, keep reading! In the rest of this article, I’ll go over each plant, how they resemble lettuce, and bring up some fun facts about them. Many of these plants can be found in the wild, and some are even edible!

10 Plants That Look Like Lettuce

Whether you’re a keen forager or an eager explorer, plant identification is an important part of keeping safe in the wilderness. Some varieties of lettuce look-a-likes on this list are totally safe and can be foraged for food. On the other hand, some plants can be unsafe to handle or eat, so it’s vital to know the difference!

More look a like plants:

1. Wild Lettuce

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Wild lettuce is closely related to garden lettuce, hence the similar look! However, wild lettuce (also known as bitter lettuce) has a sharp flavor that you may not be accustomed to.

Though the wild variety has a bitter taste, it can still be used in salads and other dishes. Wild lettuce is high in vitamins A and C, as well as essential minerals like iron, potassium and manganese.

Wild lettuce can be identified based on the prickly hairs on the underside of its leaves, which are also wavy. This distinguishes them from some of the other plants on this list for easy identification. Wild lettuce can sometimes be confused for dandelions because it grows yellow flowers when in bloom.

2. Sow Thistle

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Sow thistle, also known as milk thistle, can be found worldwide and grows well in many different climates, so it’s like you’ve seen it before! It is a very invasive plant because it produces so many seeds, and many of those seeds will go on to germinate.

This plant also grows bright yellow flowers and can sometimes be confused for a dandelion, just like wild lettuce. The leaves are best for making extracts, but the flowers can be used in salads or tea.

Sow thistle is used in herbal medicine to treat digestive disorders, liver diseases, and other conditions. It is also traditionally used to treat fever.

3. Dandelion

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The dandelion may be the most recognizable plant on this list due to its iconic yellow flowers and fluffy seeds carried by the wind. But like many of the other entries, the leaves of the dandelion bear a remarkable similarity to pointed lettuce leaves.

Dandelion leaves are edible as well and can be eaten cooked or raw. The leaves can be used to create a variety of dishes, including pesto, salads, sandwiches, and more. But what about the flowers?

The flowers on the dandelion plant are edible too. They can be eaten raw, so go ahead and toss them in a tasty salad! If you’d prefer to cook them, fry them up in some butter and garlic.

4. Blue Wild Lettuce

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This variety of wild lettuce grows natively all across North America. Blue wild lettuce is named for its similarity in appearance to garden lettuce, as its leaves are large and lobed in shape, growing from a cluster on a single stem.

Blue wild lettuce gets its name from the blue flowers that bloom on it. However, it has a lot in common with other varieties of wild lettuce, sporting small hairs on the underside of its leaves and on its stem. The leaves on this plant can also vary in size and shape, much like garden variety lettuce!

Is blue wild lettuce edible? Yes, it is edible! It’s a great salad green and is also used in cooking, just like the previous entry on wild lettuce.

5. Stinging Nettle

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While stinging nettles have a similar leaf shape to wild lettuce, it’s important to be able to distinguish these two plants. As you’ve probably guessed from the name, the leaves of the stinging nettle are covered in tiny hairs. If your skin comes in contact with those hairs, they can cause intense pain!

How can you identify a stinging nettle in the wild? Stinging nettle is a plant that grows in wet soil and can often be found near running water. It has an oval, toothed leaf that looks like a dandelion, but it has serrated edges.

The plant is generally found from April to November, and the stem of the plant is covered in tiny hairs that can cause a burning sensation when touched.

6. Prickly Lettuce

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Prickly lettuce, also called milk thistle, can be distinguished from other kinds of wild lettuce by its unpleasant smell and exceptionally bitter taste. The leaves are heart-shaped, with a finely serrated edge with spines on all the surfaces except where they come into contact with another leaf or stem.

Even if it tastes bad, is it possible to eat prickly lettuce? Well, it’s probably not a good idea. The Navajo used to eat prickly lettuce to induce vomiting, so that should tell you all you need to know!

7. Chicory

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Chicory is a weed that is also closely related to garden lettuce. Its leaves are also similar to the dandelion and are typically oval in shape, springing from a single stem in a rosette pattern that makes it look like lettuce.

Chicory also flowers during the day, and the flowers are usually purple or blue. Chicory can grow up to five feet tall!

Though many gardeners consider chicory a weed, it may be grown as a useful groundcover. The leaves can also be used for salads and soups. The roots of chicory can also be roasted and ground as a coffee substitute.

8. Cat’s Ear

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Cat’s ear is a prolific weed, found on every continent in the world except Antarctica! Because it spreads easily and grows in many environments, it is widely considered to be an invasive species of plant.

The leaves of the cat’s ear plant resemble lettuce because of their broad, oval shape. It also bears quite a similarity to the dandelion, and the seeds of the cat’s ear plant are spread in the same way – that’s part of what makes it so prevalent in the environment!

9. Echeveria

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Echeveria is a succulent native to Mexico that resembles lettuce due to its rosette pattern. These are popular, easy-to-care-for houseplants that grow in a shape and color similar to garden lettuce. Echeveria is also known as the Spanish word for “snowflake”.

Echeveria also comes in a variety of colors: green, purple, gray, blue, and even nearly black! They also have various textures, ranging from soft, fuzzy, and smooth.

10. Bluff Lettuce

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Bluff lettuce is another succulent that resembles garden lettuce. Unlike garden lettuce, which grows in a head, the leaves of bluff lettuce are arranged on the stem in pairs. The leaf pairs don’t touch each other, and there’s a small distance between them. Bluff lettuce has been found on every continent except Antarctica.

It is an important food plant in southeast Asia, where the leaves are used in salads. The flowers of bluff lettuce are edible and can be used as a garnish on salads or as an herb.


There are many plants that look like lettuce all over the world. These similarities come mostly from leaf shape and the rosette growth pattern, but many also have similar flowers and methods of reproduction!

While not all of them are safe to eat, many are, and foraging for wild varieties of lettuce can be an exciting addition to your outdoor activities! Remember to use caution and consult the proper tools for identifying and consuming foraged plants to keep yourself safe!

Frequently Asked Questions

What plants look like lettuce leaves?

Many varieties of thistle resemble garden lettuce. In general, thistle plants are members of the sunflower family and are not genetically related to lettuce despite the resemblance. However, young thistle plants often look like lettuce leaves.

What other plants look like wild lettuce?

Dandelions, thistles, and other weeds (cat’s ear and chicory) look like garden lettuce.

What is a plant that looks like purple lettuce?

Some types of flowering cabbages or kale plants look similar to lettuce. They are brightly colored and make a great addition to your garden, both for appearance and edibility.

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