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By Edward J Ryder

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The principal cultivars are Empire, Merit, Climax, and Vanguard. Empire is dark green, has a conical head, with tightly wrapped, ruffled leaves, and is produced in early winter. Merit is dark green, with highly ruffled leaves. It is tolerant to big vein. Climax is LETTUCE 49 dark green and somewhat variable in appearance. It has a great deal of vigor and is, therefore, planted to mature in the coldest part of the winter. Vanguard is dark green with scalloped leaves and matures in early spring. C .

D. The early forms were probably cos-like, and the other forms came later. Broad leaves in heading and nonheading forms were certainly selected, as well as nonshattering seed heads, resistance to early seedstalk formation, nonspininess, decreased latex content and larger, uniformly germinating seeds. Subsequent spread led to Western Europe and the New World. It was mentioned by Chaucer about 1340. It was in the New World in 1494. Sixteen cultivars were in the seed catalogues in 1806. A primitive lanceolate leaf type probably traveled to the East as a forerunner of the stem type popular in China (Ryder and Whitaker 1976; Hedrick 1972).

An additional environmental effect on the germ inability of lettuce seeds is the presence or absence of coating materials. Most lettuce seed is now planted in the coated or pelleted form. Zink (1955) found a significant reduction in field germination and emergence with pelleted over nonpelleted seed. He found no improvement with the addition of several germination enhancers to the coating. However, Heydecker and Joshua (1977) found that soaking lettuce seeds in a 70-100 mg/liter solution of kinetin in dichloromethane for 15 min did not wet the seeds, but improved germination under dark, high temperature conditions for as much as a year after treatment.

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