11 Plants That Look Like Lettuce: Lettuce Lookalikes

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11 Plants That Look Like Lettuce: Lettuce Lookalikes

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Lettuce is a popular leafy green vegetable for its nutritional value and its adaptability in the kitchen. Because of its unique flavor and crisp texture, it is often used in salads, sandwiches, and wraps. However, several other plants look similar to the lettuce, which causes misunderstanding. 

Here we’ll look at 11 plants that look like lettuce, noting their scientific names, distinguishing features, and how they’re comparable to lettuce.

Lettuce Lookalikes

What Plant Looks Like Lettuce? 

If you like to grow or just like to learn about different plants, you might come across some that look like lettuce.

Even though lettuce is a popular leafy green veggie known for its crisp texture and gentle flavor, other plants have similar qualities. 

Our list of lettuce lookalikes includes Kale, cabbage, Escarole, beets, Spinach, Frisée, Kohlrabi, Sow Thistle, Beans, Celeriac, and Carrot Tops.

Know About The Plant That Looks Like Lettuce but Aren’t 

Many plants may be mistaken for lettuce, especially in leaf form and color. Plants with the most similarities with lettuce are

1. Kale

Scientific Name: Brassica oleracea var. Acephala

Identifying Characteristic: Kale is easily recognized by its ruffled, curled leaves, which may range from dark green to light green to even purple. The leaves have a rough texture and a little bitter flavor.

How Is It Similar To Lettuce: The leaves of kale and lettuce have a similar leafy green appearance.

In many ways, kale and green lettuce are interchangeable. Both leaves are lengthy and spread out from the main stem rather than forming a tight head.

The leaves of kale may range in color from dark green to scarlet. Leaf lettuce also comes in various colors, but its leaves don’t become as black as kale. The surface of kale may be flat, frilly, or rough. The leaves of lettuce have a variety of shapes, sizes, and textures.

The leaves of kale are significantly bigger and have a stronger flavor than green lettuce. Its leaves are also more nutritious than those of leafy lettuces. Because of its high nutritious density, kale is considered a superfood.

2. Cabbage

Scientific Name: Brassica oleracea var. Capitata

Identifying Characteristic: Cabbage has dense heads of round or oval leaves that are smooth. The leaves may be from very light green to dark purple or crimson.

How Is It Similar To Lettuce: Cabbage and lettuce have leaves, but cabbage’s leaves are denser and thicker.

Green cabbage is very identical to iceberg lettuce. It’s also possible to confuse it with butterhead lettuce. All of them resemble round leafy green orbs. Their leaves spiral outward from a central point, expanding in size with each successive layer. 

Looking closely, you can find the difference. Cabbage heads are more spherical and solid, and the leaves are stronger than lettuce heads. There are notable distinctions in taste, texture, and nutrient content between cabbage and lettuce.

Cabbage has a crispy and crunchy flavor, while lettuce has a mild flavor and may be either crunchy (iceberg) or soft (butterhead). Cabbage, a member of the pungent mustard family, is responsible for the distinctive flavor it imparts. Except for vitamin A, cabbage likewise outperforms iceberg lettuce regarding nutritional value.

3. Beets

Scientific Name: Beta vulgaris

Identifying Characteristics: Beets are easily recognized by their delicious roots, but even the leaves may be eaten. Beetroot greens are characterized by their elongated, lance-shaped leaves, dark green color, and somewhat bitter taste.

How Is It Similar To Lettuce: Beetroot greens are similar in appearance to both butterhead lettuce and loose-leaf lettuce.

Beets are often thought of as root vegetables. However, the whole plant, roots and all, may be eaten. Beets are often used in salads, as a side dish with hummus, and in nutritious smoothies. Salads made with either cooked or raw greens are popular. 

While beets are often considered vibrant red, golden, and even striped variations exist. The vegetable is recognized as a cold-season crop and grows quickly, so it can maintain your vegetable garden going even when other plants won’t. 

4. Escarole

Scientific Name: Cichorium endivia var. Latifolium

Identifying Characteristic: Light to dark green, wide, and somewhat ruffled leaves are a telltale sign that you’re looking at escarole. The leaves taste rather bitter, like endive.

How Is It Similar To Lettuce: Some types of lettuce, especially those with larger, frillier leaves, might be mistaken for escarole in appearance.

The Chicory family includes escarole, a close relative of the butterhead lettuce. Escarole is sometimes mistaken for lettuce because of its flat, oblong leaves, although it is endive.

Because of their broad, green leaves, escarole and butterhead lettuce are sometimes mistaken for one another. However, variances become apparent when the leaves, particularly their margins, are examined closely. The leaves of the escarole plant are wrinkled and seem to have been raggedly ripped, in contrast to the smooth leaves of the butterhead plant.

By tasting them, you may also determine the difference between escarole and butterhead lettuce. Sweet butterhead lettuce contrasts with the sharp flavor of escarole. They have different textures as well. In contrast to the butterhead’s tender outer leaves, the escarole is chewy.

5. Spinach

Scientific Name: Spinacia oleracea

Identifying Characteristic: Spinach has dark green, flat, smooth, and delicate leaves. The flavor is subtle and has an earthy undertone.

How Is It Similar To Lettuce: Some leaf lettuce varieties may be likened to spinach. Both seem similar during blooming and after harvesting because they form loose rosettes. 

When the leaves are first developing, they all seem the same. Baby leaf mixtures often include both; only the most discerning leafy green enthusiasts could tell them apart. The leaves of spinach and lettuce are noticeably different in shape and color.

The goosefoot family, of which spinach is a member, gets its name from the plant’s characteristically triangular leaves. On the reverse hand, leaf lettuce may look like an oak leaf or something more wavy or frilly. Spinach is deep green, whereas leaf lettuce comes in a rainbow of colors.

6. Frisée 

Scientific Name: Cichorium endivia

Identifying Characteristic: The leaves of frisée, often called curly endive, are light to medium green in color and finely divided. You may find the leaves to be somewhat bitter.

How Is It Similar To Lettuce: Frisée’s curly leaf structure is similar to certain lettuce kinds; thus, the two look identical.

Frisée, a chicory family member, resembles lettuce but tastes different. Its frilly, light green leaves are reminiscent of heritage lettuces like black-seeded Simpson.

The leaf forms, core colors, and flavors of various lettuce kinds set frisée apart from frilly lettuce. Thin, yellowish-green leaves with a tinge of pepper and sharpness characterize frisée, the plant from which it gets its name. On Conversely, frilly lettuce has broader leaves that are uniformly bright green and have a milder, sweeter flavor.

The bitterness of the inner, yellow-green leaves of frisée makes it unpalatable to most people, while lettuce may be consumed in its whole.

7. Kohlrabi

Scientific Name: Brassica oleracea var. Gongylodes

Identifying Characteristic: Kohlrabi has a circular, enlarged stem that emerges from the ground at a shallow angle. The leaves create a rosette, much like a head of lettuce.

How Is It Similar To Lettuce: The kohlrabi leaves are similar to lettuce.

Although kohlrabi is more widespread in Northern Europe than in North America, it is one of the most conspicuous vegetables in the grocery store’s produce section. Raw kohlrabi in a salad has a somewhat spicy flavor that isn’t there when cooked. There are a few unusually sweet types. When cooked, it softens and is often used in soups, stews, and stir-fries. 

When young, kohlrabi plants resemble cabbage plants; as they mature, they have rounder leaves with prominent veins that may be mistaken for lettuce. When fully grown, however, the vegetable looks like a green turnip. The leaves are often big and toothed, and the vines are white. 

8. Sow Thistle

Scientific Name: Sonchus oleraceus

Identifying Characteristic: Its deeply lobed, somewhat thorny leaves recognize the sow thistle. The leaves remind me of lettuce in texture.

How Is It Similar To Lettuce: Sow thistle leaves are very similar in shape and feel to lettuce leaves, except for a somewhat bitter taste.

The large leaves of sow thistle, which may be consumed either raw or cooked, give the plant an appearance somewhat dissimilar to wild lettuce. 

There are two types of sow thistle: an annual variety and a perennial variety. The leaves of the perennial sow thistle are smoother, even though both seem quite similar. The blooms are likewise more diminutive in size. It is ideal to consume sow thistle when the plant is still young since all parts of the plant, including the stems, roots, flowers, and leaves, are edible. The more mature the plant is, the more acrid its taste will become.

9. Beans

Scientific Name: Phaseolus spp.

Identifying Characteristics: The bean plants’ leaves are complex, containing three leaflets per leaf. 

How Is It Similar To Lettuce: The leaves resemble lettuce in their wide and smoothness.

Beans come in various shapes and sizes, but the ones that thrive on low bushes resemble lettuce. While green is the most common color, yellow, red, purple, and even speckled beans exist.

While most bean varieties are edible, consuming them in raw or undercooked forms may harm human and animal health. Beans, when seasoned properly, are a fantastic addition to stews and dips. 

Beans have three leaves, with two sets growing in opposing directions from one another and the third set growing in the center. The elephant-head-shaped blossoms come in shades of white, purple, and pink. These blooms transform into bean pods in the summer. 

10. Celeriac

Scientific Name: Apium graveolens var. Rapaceum

Identifying Characteristic: The bulbous root of celeriac, a kind of celery, is the primary reason it is cultivated. On the other hand, it may grow lettuce-like leaves.

How Is It Similar To Lettuce: Because they resemble lettuce leaves, celeriac leaves may be used in many of the same recipes for lettuce. 

Celeriac is a lesser-known vegetable that is similar to lettuce. It has an odd appearance, with thick, woody stalks and rounded, leafy tops. Celeriac is characterized by bulbous stalk and celery-like leaves. You may consume the veggie raw or cooked.

Celtuce may have its stem picked when it reaches around 7 inches in length. The leaves are often overlooked. Celeriac leaves are occasionally used only as a decorative addition to a dish.

11. Carrot Tops

Scientific Name: Daucus Carota

Identifying Characteristic: A carrot’s green, fluffy tips are called the “carrot top.” The lettuce leaf is an obvious inspiration for these leaves.

How Is It Similar To Lettuce: Carrot tops, with their feathery, delicate leaf, resemble lettuce leaves.

The green, leafy section of the carrot plant, known as the carrot top, does not usually resemble lettuce. The leaves that emerge from the top of a carrot root are very delicate and fern-like. They look different from regular lettuce leaves and are thus easily identifiable.

Carrot tops and lettuce leaves are both edible but in very different ways. The somewhat bitter flavor of carrot tops makes them a popular garnish or soup/stew ingredient. However, lettuce leaves are utilized as a salad foundation or in sandwiches because they are crisp and mild.

FAQ 

What is the plant that looks like wild lettuce? 

Answer: Dandelion looks like wild lettuce.

What succulent looks like lettuce? 

Answer: Water Lettuce is a succulent that looks like lettuce.

What are the four main types of lettuce? 

Answer: The four main types of lettuce are Celtuce, Romaine lettuce, Leaf lettuce, and Head lettuce. 

Conclusion 

While lettuce is easily recognized for what it is, a few other plants look remarkably like it. Kale, cabbage, escarole, beets, spinach, frisée, etc., are some plants that look like lettuce. It’s also worth noting that these plants have unique aromas, textures, and culinary applications.

Look beyond first impressions the next time you see a green leafy vegetable that may be mistaken for lettuce. 

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Jack Daniel

I am Jack Daniel, and I have been gardening for more than 20 years now. I believe that with my years of experience, I can help you with backyard ideas and backyard product reviews. So, with the motto to help anyone facing gardening issues or wanting tips on enhancing the beauty of their backyards, I have created Backyard Muse. So, before anything else, I want to welcome you warmly to my site.

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