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Red Leaf lettuce is small to medium in size and grows in an elongated shape with a narrow base that fans out to a wide, curly, loose top. The leaves connect to a central stalk, branch out in all directions, and are tender, smooth, and broad with many curls and frills. The edges of the leaves are dark burgundy to red and as the leaf transitions into the juicy stalk the red fades to pale-green and white. Red Leaf lettuce is crisp and has a sweet or bitter smell when the stalk is scratched. The leaves will also have an earthy, mildly sweet or semi-bitter flavor with subtle notes of hazelnut. The bitterness often occurs in maturing leaves versus young leaves.