Sonchus asper

Primary tabs

Sonchus asper


Herb, annual or biennial, 10-120-(220) cm high. Flowering stems erect, sulcate and sometimes angular, hollow, glaucous, glabrous or glandular in the upper part, unbranched or branched. Lower cauline leaves ovate to oblong, 6.0-21.0-(40.0) cm long, 1.5-8.0 cm wide, entire, pinnatifid or pinnatisect, spinose or dentate, obtuse or acute, petiole-like attenuate with a winged petiole, glabrous, green or glaucous on both surfaces. Middle and upper cauline leaves spinose, auriculate and amplexicaul. Synflorescence corymbiform, with 4-10-(20) heads. Peduncle 1.0-2.0 cm long, glabrous or glandular. Heads with more than 100 flowers. Involucre at flowering campanulate, c. 10.0 mm long, at flowering (6.0)-8.0-10.0-(25.0) mm in diameter; outer involucral bracts narrowly ovate, 3.0-4.0 mm long, 0.8-1.5 mm wide, glandular or glabrous; inner involucral bracts linear, up to 10.0 mm long, c. 1.5 mm wide, acuminate. Corolla ligulate, yellow; tube c. 6.0 mm long, thinly woolly towards apex; ligule c. 6.0 mm long, 0.8 mm wide, tinged purple externally. Anthertube black at apex, c. 1.5 mm long; apical appendages acute. Style c. 8.0 mm long; branches c. 0.8 mm long. Achenes obovoid or fusiform in outline, strongly compressed, c. 3.0 mm long, 0.8-1.0-(1.8) mm wide, mostly smooth, remotely ciliate at the ribs and wings, sometimes wrinkled, brown, with 3 longitudinal ribs on each face. Pappus white, 6.0-10.0 mm long, flexible, remotely scabridulous.

Based on: Bobrov, E. G. and Tzvelev, N. N. (ed.) 2000: Flora of the USSR XXIX, Compositae , Tribe Cichorieae . – Enfield; Grierson, A. J. C. 1980: 59. Sonchus – Pp. 272-275 in: Dassayanake, M. D., Fosberg, F. R. Flora of Ceylon I – Washington, D.C.; Jeffrey, C. & Beentje, H. J. 2000: Cichorieae . – Pp. 63-108 in: Beentje, H. J. & Smith, S. A. L. (ed.), Flora of Tropical East Africa. Compositae (Part 1). – Kew; Meikle, R.D. 1985: Flora auf Cyprus 2. – Kew; Pope, G. V. 1992: Flora Zambesiaca 6, part 1. – London; Yatskievych, G. 2006: 46. Pyrrhoppapus DC. (flase dandelion), 47. Sonchus L. (sow thistle). – Pp. 382-387 in: Yatskievych, G. (ed.), Flora of Missouri 2, revised Edition. – St. Louis.


Sonchus asper seems to represents a taxon complex rather than a species but its taxonomy is not yet fully understood and the delimitation of taxa in the literature often not really convincing. A recent multivariate analysis of the morphological variation of the complex in the W Mediterranean region by Mejías & al. (2012) seems, however, pathbreaking. These authors have shown that two taxa can reliably be distinguished. One is represented by small-flowered, predominantly selfing plants, the other by large-flowered predominantly outcrossing plants. It seems that both can be distinguished also by their karyotype and distribution. The large-flowered taxon apparently corresponds to subsp. glaucenscens (or S. nymanni), the small-flowered one to subsp. asper (or S. asper in the narrow sense). Reliable diagnostic features are the length of the ligule of the marginal flowers and the length of the anther tube of the inner flowers (see Key to the subspecies).


Mejías J. A., García del Rei M. & Silva J. L. 2012: Variability in prickly sow-thistle (Sonchus asper) from western Mediterranean region. – Bocconea 24: 285–293.


Africa: Algerianative; AngolaintroducedA; Azoresnative; BurkinaintroducedB; Canary Is.native; ChadintroducedC; Egyptnative; Ethiopiaintroduced; Libyanative; Madeiranative; Morocconative; Selvagensnative; SudanintroducedD; Tunisianative Asia-Temperate: Afghanistannative; AltaynativeE; AmurnativeF; BuryatiyanativeE; China North-Central (ShandongintroducedG,H); China South-Central (HubeiintroducedG,H, SichuanintroducedG,H); China Southeast (GuangxiintroducedH, JiangsuintroducedG,H, ZhejiangintroducedG,H); Cyprusnative; East Aegean Is.native; Gulf States (QatarintroducedI); Irannative; Iraqnative; IrkutsknativeE; KazakhstanintroducedH,J; KhabarovsknativeF; KirgizistanintroducedH,K,L; KoreaintroducedH,M,N,O; KrasnoyarsknativeE; Kuril Is.nativeF; Lebanon-Syria (Lebanonnative, Syrianative); North Caucasusnative (DagestannativeP, Kabardino-BalkariyanativeP, Karacheyevo-CherkessiyanativeP, KrasnodarnativeP, StavropolnativeP); Palestine (Israelnative, Jordannative); PrimoryenativeF; SakhalinnativeF; Saudi ArabiaintroducedQ; Sinainative; TadzhikistanintroducedH,R; TaiwanintroducedH; TibetintroducedG,H; Transcaucasus (Abkhaziyanative, Adzhariyanative, Armenianative, Azerbaijannative, Georgianative, Nakhichevannative); Turkeynative; Turkmenistannative; UzbekistanintroducedH,S; West SiberianativeE; XinjiangintroducedG,H; YakutskiyanativeE Asia-Tropical: BangladeshintroducedT; East Himalaya (BhutanintroducedH); IndiaintroducedU; JawaintroducedV; NepalintroducedH,W; New Guinea (Irian JayaintroducedX, Papua New GuineaintroducedAA,AB,X,Y,Z); Pakistannative; ThailandintroducedH; VietnamintroducedAC,H; West Himalaya (Jammu-KashmirintroducedAD) Australasia: Antipodean Is.introducedAE; Chatham Is.introducedAE; New South Wales (Australian Capital Territoryintroduced, New South Walesintroduced); New Zealand NorthintroducedAE,Y; New Zealand SouthintroducedAE,Y; Northern Territoryintroduced; Queensland (Queenslandintroduced); South Australiaintroduced; Tasmaniaintroduced; Victoriaintroduced; Western Australia (Western Australiaintroduced) Europe: Albanianative; Austrianative (AustrianativeAF,AG, LiechtensteinnativeAH); Balearesnative; Baltic States (Estonianative, Kaliningradnative, Latvianative, Lithuanianative); Belarusnative; Belgium (Belgiumnative, Luxembourgnative); Bulgarianative; Central European Russianative; Corsenative; Czechoslovakia (Czech Republicnative, Slovakianative); DenmarknativeAG,AI,AJ; East European Russianative; Finlandnative; Francenative (FrancenativeAG); Germanynative; Great Britainnative; Greecenative; HungarynativeAG,AK,AL; IcelandintroducedAM; Ireland (Irelandnative, Northern Irelandnative); Italynative; Kritinative; Krymnative; NetherlandsnativeAG,AN; North European Russianative; Northwest European Russianative; NorwaynativeAG,AJ; PolandnativeAG,AO,AP; Portugalnative; Romanianative; Sardegnanative; SicilynativeAG (MaltanativeAQ, Sicilynative); South European Russianative; Spainreported in error (AndorranativeAR,AS, Gibraltarnative, Spainnative); Swedennative; Switzerlandnative; Turkey-in-Europenative; Ukraine (Moldovanative, Ukrainenative); Yugoslavia (Bosnia-Herzegovinanative, Croatianative, Macedonianative: presence questionable, Montenegronative, Serbianative, Slovenianative) Northern America: AlabamaintroducedAT; AlaskaintroducedAT; AlbertaintroducedAT,AU; ArizonaintroducedAT,AV; ArkansasintroducedAT; British ColumbiaintroducedAT,AU; CaliforniaintroducedAT,AV; ColoradointroducedAT; ConnecticutintroducedAT; DelawareintroducedAT; District of ColumbiaintroducedAT; FloridaintroducedAT; Georgia, U.S.A.introducedAW; GreenlandintroducedAU; IdahointroducedAT; IllinoisintroducedAT; IndianaintroducedAT; IowaintroducedAT; KansasintroducedAT; KentuckyintroducedAT; LabradorintroducedAT,AU; LouisianaintroducedAT; MaineintroducedAT; ManitobaintroducedAT,AU; MarylandintroducedAT; MassachusettsintroducedAT; Mexico Central (Mexico Distrito FederalintroducedAX,AY, MorelosintroducedAX, México StateintroducedAX,AY, PueblaintroducedAX); Mexico Northeast (ChihuahuaintroducedAX,AZ, CoahuilaintroducedAX, DurangointroducedAX, GuanajuatointroducedAX, QuerétarointroducedAX, San Luis PotosíintroducedAX); Mexico Northwest (Baja CaliforniaintroducedAX,BA, SinaloaintroducedAX, SonoraintroducedAV); Mexico Southeast (ChiapasintroducedAX); Mexico Southwest (GuerrerointroducedAY, JaliscointroducedAX, MichoacánintroducedAX); MichiganintroducedAT; MinnesotaintroducedAT; MississippiintroducedAT; MissouriintroducedAT; MontanaintroducedAT; NebraskaintroducedAT; NevadaintroducedAT; New BrunswickintroducedAT,AU; New HampshireintroducedAT; New JerseyintroducedAT; New MexicointroducedAT; New YorkintroducedAT; Newfoundland (NewfoundlandintroducedAT,AU, St.Pierre-MiquelonintroducedAT,AU); North DakotaintroducedAT; Nova ScotiaintroducedAT,AU; OhiointroducedAT; OklahomaintroducedAT; OntariointroducedAT,AU; OregonintroducedAT; PennsylvaniaintroducedAT; Prince Edward I.introducedAT,AU; QuébecintroducedAT,AU; Rhode I.introducedAT; SaskatchewanintroducedAT,AU; South CarolinaintroducedAT; South DakotaintroducedAT; TennesseeintroducedAT; TexasintroducedAT; UtahintroducedAT; VermontintroducedAT; VirginiaintroducedAT; WashingtonintroducedAT; West VirginiaintroducedAT; WisconsinintroducedAT; WyomingintroducedAT; YukonintroducedAT,AU Pacific: Hawaii (Hawaiian Is.introduced) Southern America: Argentina Northeast (Buenos AiresintroducedBB, ChacointroducedBB,BC, CórdobaintroducedBB, Entre RíosintroducedBB,BC, La PampaintroducedBB,BC, MisionesintroducedBB,BC); Argentina Northwest (CatamarcaintroducedBB,BC, JujuyintroducedBB,BC, La RiojaintroducedBB,BC, MendozaintroducedBB,BC, SaltaintroducedBB,BC, San JuanintroducedBC,BD, San LuisintroducedBC); Argentina South (ChubutintroducedBB,BC, NeuquénintroducedBB,BC, Rio NegrointroducedBC, Santa CruzintroducedBB,BC, Santa FéintroducedBB,BC, Tierra del Fuego (Argentina)introducedBB,BC); BahamasintroducedBE,BF; Boliviaintroduced; Brazil South (Santa CatarinaintroducedBC); Chile Central (BiobíointroducedBC, CoquimbointroducedBC, La AraucaniaintroducedBC, MauleintroducedBC, O'HigginsintroducedBC, SantiagointroducedBC, ValparaísointroducedBC); Chile North (AntofagastaintroducedBC, AtacamaintroducedBC, TarapacaintroducedBC); Chile South (AisénintroducedBC, Los LagosintroducedBC, MagellanesintroducedBC); ColombiaintroducedBG; Desventurados Is.introducedBC; Dominican RepublicintroducedBE,BH; Haiti (HaitiintroducedBE,BH); JamaicaintroducedBE; Juan Fernández Is.introducedBC; Leeward Is. (Antigua-BarbudaintroducedBE,BI, GuadeloupeintroducedBE,BI); ParaguayintroducedBC; Puerto RicointroducedBE,BJ; UruguayintroducedBC; VenezuelaintroducedBK,BL; Windward Is. (BarbadosintroducedBE,BI, MartiniqueintroducedBE,BI)

Common names

(India): MhatraBM, Pila DhutiBN; (Mexico): CardoAX, cerrajaAX, chicalotilloAX, epazotilloAX, lechuguillaAX; Albanian (Albania): Rrëshyell i ashpërBO,1; Arabic (East Africa): umm al labanBP; Arabic (Lebanon): تِفاف جاسئBQ,1, خُرُّم مُرّBQ,1, سُمَيْرَةBQ,1; Arabic (Saudi Arabia): KhuwwayshBR; Arabic (Syria): تِفاف جاسئBS,1, خُرُّم مُرّBS,1, سُمَيْرَةBS,1; Armenian (Armenia): Կաթնբեկ խորդուբորդBT,1; Basque (Spain): Asta-uzarraAS, GardaberaAS; Bulgarian (Bulgaria): Влакнест кострецBU,1; Catalan; Valencian (Spain): LlensóAS, Lletsó bordAS, Lliscó de burroAS; Chinese (China): 花叶滇苦菜 hua ye dian ku caiH; Corsican (Corse): LattaroneBV,1; Danish (Denmark): Ru SvinemælkBW,1; English (Australia): Native Sow-ThistleBX, Native SowthistleBY, Native sow-thistleBZ, Prickly SowthistleCA,CB,CC, Rough Milk ThistleCA, Rough Sow-thistleCD, Rough SowthistleCA,CB,CC,CE, Spiny SowthistleCA; English (Bahamas): Prickly sow thistleBE; English (Cyprus): Sow ThistleCF; English (Great Britain): Prickly Sow-thistleCG,1; English (Indian Subcontinent): rough sow thistleU; English (New Zealand): Prickly sow thistleAE,CH; English (Northern America): Pprickly sow-thistleAU; Estonian (Estonia): Kare piimohakasCI,1; Finnish (Finland): OtavalvattiBW,1; French (Belgium): Laiteron épineuxCJ,1; French (Corse): Laiteron rudeBV,1; French (France): Laiteron piquantCK,1, Laiteron rudeCK,1, Laiteron épineuxCK,1; French (Mascarene Islands): LastronCL, Lastron piquantCL; French (Mauritius): LastronCM; French (Northern America): Laiteron rudeAU; French (Réunion): Lastron piquantCN; French (Switzerland): Laiteron rudeCO,1; Fur (East Africa): kornariBP; Galician (Spain): Cardio melardoAS, LeitarugasAS; German (Germany): Raue GänsedistelCP,1; German (Switzerland): Rauhe GänsedistelCO,1; Hebrew (Israel): מָרוֹר מַכְחִילCQ,1, מרור מכחילCQ,1; Hindi (India): Dodak; Hindi (Indian Subcontinent): DidhiU; Icelandic (Iceland): GaltarfífillAM; Italian (Italy): Grespino spinosoCR,1; Italian (Switzerland): Grespino spinosoCO,1; Kinyarwanda (Rwanda): KikembekembeCS, ruriraCS; Korean (Korea): Keung-bang-ga-ji-tongO; Latvian (Latvia): Dzeloņainā mīkstpieneCI,1; Maori (New Zealand): RaurōroaCH; Marathi (Indian Subcontinent): MahatraU; Norwegian (Norway): StivdylleBW,1; Polish (Poland): Mlecz kolczastyAO,1; Portuguese (Azores): Serralha-espinhosaCT, Serralha-ásperaCT; Romanian (Moldova): Сусай аспруCU,1; Ronga (Mozambique): muchovoCV; Russian (Armenia): Осот шероховатыйBT,1; Spanish; Castilian (Dominican Republic): Yerba espinosaBE; Spanish; Castilian (Puerto Rico): LechuguillaBE; Spanish; Castilian (Spain): AcerrajasAS, Achicoria leichariegaAS, AzapuercosAS, CardinchaAS, Cardo lecheroAS, CardonchaAS, CerrajaAS, LecheriegaAS, LechuguillaAS, LincherinaAS, SerrañaAS, XarrayonesAS; Swedish (Sweden): SvinmjölktistelBW,2, SvinmolkeCW,1, SvintistelBW,2; Tauya (Central and East Africa): fosi-moskojeh; Tauya (Ethiopia): fosi-moskojewCX; Tsonga (Mozambique): hlaviCV; Turkish (Cyprus): SütleğenCF; Turkish (Turkey): EşekgevreğıCY; Vietnamese (Vietnam): Cúc nhọnCZ, Nhũ cúcAC,CZ, Rổng cúc nhọnCZ, Tục đoạn cúcCZ
1. recommended, 2. synonym


Sonchus asper is used as salad or vegetable, the young leaves and shoots of wild-growing plants being eaten raw, cooked or slightly steamed.DA


Gemeinholzer B. 2009: Images (1 added).
Willing E. 2012: Images (3 added)


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