The Info List - Romaine Lettuce

Romaine or cos lettuce ( Lactuca sativa
Lactuca sativa
L. var. longifolia) is a variety of lettuce that grows in a tall head of sturdy dark green leaves with firm ribs down their centers. Unlike most lettuces, it is tolerant of heat. It is more nutritious than iceberg lettuce. In North America, romaine is sold as whole heads or as "hearts" that have had the outer leaves removed and are often packaged together.


1 Origin and etymology 2 Ritual use 3 Cuisine 4 Nutrition 5 Food safety issues 6 Other trivia 7 Notes 8 References 9 External links

Origin and etymology[edit] In British English, it is commonly known as "cos" lettuce, and in North America as "romaine" lettuce.[1] Many dictionaries trace the word cos to the name of the Greek island of Cos, from which the lettuce was presumably introduced.[2] Other authorities trace cos to the Arabic word for lettuce, khus خس [xus].[3] It apparently reached the West via Rome, as in Italian it is called lattuga romana and in French laitue romaine, both meaning "Roman lettuce". Hence the name "romaine", the common term in North American English.[3] Ritual use[edit] For 3000 years (from at least 2700 BC), cos lettuce was associated with the ancient Egyptian god of fertility, Min, for its resemblance to the phallus.[4] Romaine lettuce
Romaine lettuce
may be used in the Passover Seder
Passover Seder
as a type of bitter herb. It symbolises the bitterness inflicted by the Egyptians while the Israelites
were slaves in Egypt.[5][6] Cuisine[edit] Romaine is a common salad green, and is the usual lettuce used in Caesar salad. Romaine lettuce
Romaine lettuce
is commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine. Romaine, like other lettuces, may also be cooked. For example, it can be braised or made into soup.[7][8] The thick ribs, especially on the older outer leaves, should have a milky fluid that gives the romaine its typically bitter herb taste. In North American supermarkets, romaine is widely available year-round.[7] Nutrition[edit]

Romaine lettuce

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy 72 kJ (17 kcal)


3.3 g

Dietary fibre 2.1 g


0.3 g


1.2 g


A equiv.

(36%) 290 μg


(34%) 136 μg


(29%) 24 mg



(3%) 33 mg


(7%) 0.97 mg


(4%) 30 mg


(5%) 247 mg

Other constituents

Water 95 g

Units μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams IU = International units

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. Source: USDA Nutrient Database

As with other dark leafy greens, the antioxidants found in romaine lettuce are believed to help prevent cancer.[9] Food safety issues[edit] From November 2017 through January 2018, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHA) identified romaine as being linked to illness in 41 persons in Canada.[10] A probably related outbreak affected 25 people in 15 states of the U.S. who ate leafy greens, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) were unable to confirm that it was romaine in particular. There was one death. The disease agent was Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7. The most recent illness started on December 12, 2017; the PHA declared the outbreak over on January 10, 2018, and the CDC declared it over on January 25.[11] Other trivia[edit] The day of 22 Germinal in the French Republican Calendar
French Republican Calendar
was dedicated to this lettuce, as "Romaine".[12] Notes[edit]

^ Walker, Norman Wardhaugh (1970). "Cos or Romaine Lettuce
Juice". Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices: What's Missing in Your Body?. Book Publishing Company. Retrieved 2 December 2013.  ^ Oxford English Dictionary, First Edition, 1893, s.v. 'cos' ^ a b Davidson, Alan (1999). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-211579-0. Cos lettuces are probably not named for the island of Kos
but for the Arabic word for lettuce  ^ Smith, K. Annabelle (16 July 2013). "When Lettuce
Was a Sacred Sex Symbol". Smithsonian Museum. Retrieved 27 January 2018.  ^ Bradshaw, Paul; Hoffman, Lawrence (August 19, 2000). "Towards a History of the Paschal Meal". Passover and Easter: Origin and History to Modern Times. University of Notre Dame Press. ISBN 9780268038595.  ^ Eisenberg, Ronald L. (2010). Jewish Traditions: A JPS Guide. Jewish Publication Society. p. 286. ISBN 0827610394.  ^ a b Bittman, Mark (2 April 2010). "The Charms of the Loser Lettuces". New York Times. Retrieved 27 January 2018.  ^ Bittman, Mark (2 April 2010). "Braised Romaine Hearts". Retrieved 27 January 2018. (Registration required (help)).  ^ "AICR's Foods That Fight Cancer: Dark Green Leafy Vegetables". American Institute for Cancer Research.  ^ "Public Health Notice – Outbreak of E. coli infections linked to romaine lettuce", Public Health Agency of Canada, February 9, 2018 ^ "Multistate Outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 Infections Linked to Leafy Greens (Final Update)", Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, posted January 25, 2018 ^ Tooke, William (1855). The Monarchy of France: its rise, progress, and fall. London: Sampson Low & Son. p. 634. 


Kirschmann, John D. & Dunne, Lavon J. Nutrition Almanac, s.v. ISBN 0-07-034906-1.

External links[edit]

The dictionary definition of romaine at Wiktionary

Taxon identifiers

Wd: Q1762893 EPPO: LACSO GBIF: 6304858 GRIN: 21362 N