Botanical name: Latuca/launaea taraxacifolia
Yoruba name: Efo yanrin
This is a common weed in cultivated and waste lands. It is used as vegetables in some communities. There is a folk saying that the plant is never planted or cultivated. It just exists in the wild. I transplanted some into my compound and now grows abundantly that it has become weed.
The plant is believed to have psychic powers. It is said that the plant would render powerless any juju futile if it is brought into a compound where people have fetish juju. Hence people who keep fetishes do not allow the plant into their compound. Wild lettuce is annual plant which becomes perennial because it proliferates from rhizomes. In a good soil the plant can grow to 1.5 metres. The stem is erect and the leaves have deeply cut lobes serrated at the margines. The leaves do not have stalk and are arranged opposite on the stem. The leaves are smooth and waxy grayish green in colour. The inflorescence has deep yellow flowers. The plant resembles shepherd’s purse because their leaves and flower look similar. Taking a decoctions of the leaves and stem calms the heart. The flowers are sedative, anodyne anti-spasmodic. The leaves may be boiled or juiced to combat insomnia and restlessness. A decoction of the leaves with passion flower leaves is said to be good for asthma and relieves muscular pains and strains, rheumatic pains, menstrual pains, and colic.
The plant ia said to be aphrodisiac. Pulped and mixed with palm oil and a little salt, it is used to cover new baby’s center of head.