Originating in China and cultivated for its stem rather than its leaves. First described by Vilmorin-Andrieux (1885) when introduced to Europe, probably by missionary botanists working in China. Harvest the stems 3-4 months after sowing, at around 30cm high and at least 3cm thick. Remove the outer layer to reveal the light green flesh and cut into thin slices. The stem is excellent raw, like celery, or lightly cooked in stir fries.
Our donor sent original Sutton's seed of this butterhead variety when they found it was no longer available commercially. Sutton's Catalogue (1977) states, “A mildew resistant type bred by the National Vegetable Research Station. Specially recommended for June to early August sowing.”
An ex-commercial variety of cos-type lettuce has crisp, green leaves speckled with red. Our donor suggests planting out in autumn and overwintering with protection; the lettuces will heart up for early summer harvesting. Lovely, slightly bitter flavour, perfect in a mixed leaf salad.
A beautiful, productive California heirloom, popular in the USA but was almost unknown here. A large, non-hearting lettuce; the attractive, arrowhead-shaped leaves have a distinctive bronze tinge and mild flavour. Drought and cold hardy, so ideal for autumn sowing and overwintering; it's also less popular with slugs. The merits of this variety have been recognised by commercial seed companies and it is to be included on the National List under its synonym Bronze Beauty. Although now it can be considered safe, we will continue to make it available to members for as long as our stocks last.
This is one of the oldest of the cos lettuces and considered one of the hardiest of its type, suitable for summer or autumn sowing. It is exceedingly crisp and well flavoured. The leaves are large, broad and scooped around the margins. When exposed to sunlight these become a brownish-bronze, hence the name.
Originally bred by W Atlee Burpee Company, USA, and introduced in 1884. Our donor found seeds in an allotment shed in the 1990s, left behind by a previous tenant who had grown them for 30 years. Described by Burpee as having “medium-sized compact heads with heavily ruffled leaves and crisp, tender hearts.” A classic, crisphead lettuce, thinnings make delicious extra-early salads. 85 days from seed to harvest (approx.)
A huge, cabbage-headed lettuce that can weigh anything up to 500g. The unusual pink tinge on leaf margins is temperature-dependent, apparent on planting out the young plants in the spring but disappearing as they start to mature. Leaves are large, full and smooth, ideal for adding to a sandwich.