Description: The leaves of water lettuce are much like lettuce and are very tender and succulent. One of the easiest ways of distinguishing water lettuce is by the little plantlets that grow from the margins of the leaves. These little plantlets grow in the shape of a rosette. Water lettuce plants often cover large areas in the regions where they are found.
Habitat and Distribution: Found in the tropics throughout the Old World in both Africa and Asia. Another kind is found in the New World tropics from Florida to South America. Water lettuce grows only in very wet places and often as a floating water plant. Look for water lettuce in still lakes, ponds, and the backwaters of rivers.
Edible Parts: Eat the fresh leaves like lettuce. Be careful not to dip the leaves in the contaminated water in which they are growing. Eat only the leaves that are well out of the water.
This plant has carcinogenic properties and should only be used as a last resort.
All text and images from the U.S. Army Field Manual 3-05.70: Survival.
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