Is Lettuce man made? Yes, lettuce is one of the several man-made plants out there. You may already know that most common vegetables cultivated and eaten worldwide, today, are actually man-made hybrids gotten from their “natural” wild species.
Lettuce, as a vegetable, is cultivated worldwide and it is the favorite of many dietitians. The origin of this vegetable can be traced down to early Egyptian farmers.
It is said that ancient Egyptians cultivated this vegetable for the sake of its leaves; however, as time went on, people started cultivating Lettuce, also for the sake of its stem and seeds.
The history of Lettuce is quite an interesting one you’d love to know, and would help to answer the question, “is Lettuce a man-made vegetable?”
Where Does Lettuce Come From Originally?
Lettuce (Lactuca sativa), is a hardy annual plant in the daisy family, Asteraceae. It is cultivated as a leaf vegetable and its actual origin is traced down to ancient Egyptians.
This vegetable does not exist in the wild; it was farmed and transformed by olden-day Egyptian farmers.
Actually, this plant’s name was not lettuce; it got the name “Lettuce” around 50 AD when the plant got to the Greeks and Roman territories.
The seeds of this plant are exploited to get oil, and over time, Lettuce turned out to be an important food crop, thanks to its succulent leaves and oil-rich seeds.
There are many varieties of this plant; the varieties started appearing in the 16th century through to and 18th century. In the mid-18th century, the Lettuce plant cultivars were identified, and they are still found in many gardens today.
The modern-day Lettuce, which is mostly used in preparing salads, meals, soups, sandwiches, and wraps, actually passed through hybridization.
Some specific varieties (e.g. celtuce (asparagus lettuce)) is mostly grown for their edible stem. Celtuce’s stem can be eaten raw or cooked.
Is Lettuce Man Made?
Yes, the modern-day lettuce is poised to have been crossed bred in the Mediterranean region, Southwest Asia.
Its wild species is believed to be Lactuca serriola (Prickly Lettuce), which happens to be the only closest relative to the cultivated Lettuce.
Simply put, the modern-day (cultivated) lettuce is a domesticated species of wild Prickly Lettuce (L. serriola).
However, when people use the word “man-made plants,” other people may think they are referring to some plants that can be poisonous to humans.
Well, man-made plants simply refer to those “natural” plants that were derived (domesticated), by olden day farmers, from wild plant species that showed certain traits. They are still safe to consume and can be used in diets or common foods.
Nevertheless, there are GMO plants; these are plant species or varieties created in science labs to achieve different purposes. However, interestingly, there are no GMO lettuce species.
The cultivated lettuce was domesticated very long ago, and it is entirely safe to be eaten raw, used in diets, or preparing different meals.
Actually, lettuce cultivars are arranged into groups. The cultivated lettuce cultivars’ groups include butterhead lettuce, crisphead lettuce, cos lettuce, looseleaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, and summer crisp lettuce.
Is lettuce man made? Yes, your favorite salad veggie falls among the list of “man-made vegetables.” It was gotten from the wild species, Lactuca serriola (Prickly Lettuce).
The modern-day cultivated lettuce has different species, which were gotten by selectively breeding the cultivars.
All varieties of lettuce are edible, with some of them being cultivated specifically for their stems and seeds.
It may also interest you to know that Lettuce is not the only man-made vegetable in your everyday diet, veggies like Broccoli and cauliflower are also man-made hybrids created from their wild species.
Well, regardless of being a domesticated plant, Lettuce remains one of the most nutritious veggies ever known to man.