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Smooth Sow-thistle

Sonchus oleraceus

Plant Data

Order:
Asterales
Family:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Flowering Months:
JAN  FEB  MAR  APR  MAY  JUN  JUL  AUG  SEP  OCT  NOV  DEC
Flowers:
Pale yellow dandelion-like flowers in clusters, up to 2.5cm wide.
Fruit:
A cylidrical, light brown, wrinkly achene (seed) with white fluffy pappas (hairs) at one end. The fruits are single-seeded.
Leaves:
The dark green leaves are deeply divided into triangular-shaped lobes and have irregularly toothed margins. They are less prickly-edged than Prickly Sow-thistle and more bluish-green in colour. The leaves are arranged alternately along the stems.
Maximum Size:
2 meters tall.
Foraging Notes:
The young leaves can be eaten, raw or cooked. They are good in salads and can be cooked and eaten like spinach. The stems can be cooked and eaten in a similar way as asparagus. It is better to remove the outer skin first in order to make it more palatable. The young roots can be cooked and eaten.
Never consume a wild plant unless you are 100% certain that it is safe to eat and you know that you have identified it correctly.
Aroma:
Sometimes faintly aromatic.
Other Names:
Annual Sow-thistle, Colewort, Common Milk Sow-thistle, Common Sow-thistle, Hare's Lettuce, Hare's Thistle, Milkweed, Milky Tassel, Soft Thistle, Swinies.
Habitats:
Farmland, gardens, mountains, roadsides, rocks, sand dunes, towns, walls, wasteland, waterside.