Lettuce is one of the most popular and widely-grown salad vegetable in Zimbabwe and abroad. Due to its short growing season and relatively easy culture, it has become very popular with Zimbabwean gardeners. Lettuce is essentially a cool-season crop but due to the climatic conditions in Zimbabwe it can be successfully grown throughout the year. It is an important component of a balanced diet because of its high vitamin A and C content.
Lettuce belongs to the Compositae (sunflower or daisy family). Lactuca sativa. It is an annual plant native to the Mediterranean area. Cultivation may have started as early as 4500 BC, perhaps initially for the edible oil extracted from its seeds. Salad lettuce was popular with the Ancient Greeks and Romans. Cultivated lettuce is related to and was probably derived from the so called wild or prickley, lettuce Lactuca sierriola a common weed in Ethiopia, eastern Asia, Europe and the United States.