Sonchus arvensis

Primary tabs

Sonchus arvensis


Plants perennial, with deep-set, branched rhizomes. Stems 40-150 cm long, often somewhat glaucous. Leaves with the clasping basal lobes rounded or pointed, the margins with the teeth having relatively stiff, short, slender prickles at the tips, the upper surface glabrous, not or only slightly shiny, the undersurface glabrous or rarely sparsely pubescent with minute, inconspicuous, unbranched hairs. Basal and lower stem leaves 6-40 cm long, usually irregularly and deeply lobed. Median and upper stem leaves gradually reduced in size, variously shallowly or deeply-lobed, sometimes unlobed and merely toothed. Inflorescence branches glabrous or sparsely to moderately pubescent with spreading, gland-tipped hairs, occasionally with minute, branched, cobwebby to woolly hairs toward the tip. Flowering heads 2.5-4.5 cm in diameter (measured across the spreading corollas). Involucre (10-)14-22 mm long, glabrous or sparsely to moderately pubescent with a central band of spreading, gland-tipped hairs, occasionally with minute, branched, cobwebby to woolly hairs toward the base. Corollas 12-25 mm long, bright yellow to orangish yellow. Pappus 8-14 mm long. Fruits 2.5-3.5 mm long, noticeably 5-8-ribbed on each face, also finely cross-wrinkled, reddish brown to dark brown. 2n=36, 54.

from: Yatskievych, G. 2006: 47. Sonchus L. (sow thistle) – Pp. 383-387 in: Yatskievych, G. (ed.), Flora of Missouri 2, revised Edition. – St. Louis.


Sonchus arvensis in its narrower circumscription accepted here, is specifically distinct from S. brachyotus, which is by some authors, e.g. Sennikov (2000), treated as a subspecies of S. arvensis. In the narrower circumscription, S. arvensis is distributed in Europe extending into N Asia, whereby the extent of its distribution into N Asia is insufficiently known. This applies in particular to its reports from NE Asia. Moreover, it is introduced into North America. Reports of S. arvensis from Central, E and SE Asia, so far not referring to S. brachyotus as a subspecies of S. arvensis, are definitely erroneous (Boulos 1973; Sennikov 2000; Shih & Kilian in Shih & al. 2011). The reports from the northern parts of this area are usually due to confusion with S. brachyotus, those from the southern part due to confusion with either S. brachyotus or S. wightianus.


Boulos L. 1973: Révision systématique du genre Sonchus L. s.l. IV. – Bot. Not. 126: 155–196.

Sennikov A. N. 2000: Konspect roda Sonchus (Asteraceae) flory Rossii o sopredel'nykh gosudarstv [Synopsis of the genus Sonchus (Asteraceae) in Russia and adjacent countries]. – Bot Zhurn. 85(12): 90–94.

Shih C., Ge X. J.; Kilian N., Kirschner J., Štěpánek J., Sukhorukov A. P., Mavrodiev E. V. & Gottschlich G. 2011: Cichorieae. – Pp. 195–353 in: Wu Z. Y., Raven P. H. & Hong D. Y. (ed.), Flora of China 20–21. Asteraceae. – Beijing: Science Press & St Louis: Missouri Botanical Garden. // ➪ //


Africa: Algerianative: presence questionable Asia-Temperate: Altayreported in errorA; Amurreported in errorB; Buryatiyadoubtfully presentA; China North-Central (Gansureported in error, Hebeireported in error, Shaanxireported in error, Shanxireported in error); China South-Central (Hubeireported in errorC, Sichuanreported in error, Yunnanreported in error); China Southeast (Guangxireported in errorC, Henanreported in error, Hunanreported in errorC, Jiangsureported in error, Zhejiangreported in error); Chitadoubtfully presentA; Cyprusnative: presence questionableD,E; East Aegean Is.native; Inner Mongolia (Ningxiareported in errorC); Irkutskdoubtfully presentA; Kamchatkadoubtfully presentB; KazakhstannativeF; Khabarovskdoubtfully presentB; Kirgizistanreported in errorG,H; Krasnoyarskdoubtfully presentA; Kuril Is.doubtfully presentI; Magadandoubtfully presentB; Manchuria (Heilongjiangreported in error, Jilinreported in error, Liaoningreported in error); Mongoliareported in error; North CaucasusnativeJ,K (DagestannativeL, Kabardino-BalkariyanativeL, Karacheyevo-CherkessiyanativeL, KrasnodarnativeL, StavropolnativeL); Primoryedoubtfully presentI; Qinghaireported in error; Sakhalindoubtfully presentI; Tadzhikistanreported in errorM; Tibetreported in error; Transcaucasus (Abkhaziyanative, Adzhariyanative, ArmenianativeK,L,N, Azerbaijannative: presence questionableK,L,O,P, Georgianative); Turkeynative; Tuvadoubtfully presentA; Uzbekistandoubtfully presentQ; West Siberiadoubtfully presentA; Xinjiangreported in error; Yakutskiyadoubtfully presentA Asia-Tropical: Jawadoubtfully presentR; Philippinesreported in errorS Australasia: New Zealand NorthintroducedT; New Zealand SouthintroducedT; South AustraliaintroducedU Europe: Albanianative; Austrianative (Austrianative, LiechtensteinnativeV); Balearesnative: presence questionable; Baltic States (Estonianative, Kaliningradnative, Latvianative, Lithuanianative); Belarusnative; Belgiumnative (Belgiumnative, Luxembourgnative); Bulgarianative; Central European Russianative; Corsereported in errorW,X,Y,Z; Czechoslovakia (Czech Republicnative, Slovakianative: doubtfully native); Denmarknative; East European Russianative; Finlandnative; Francenative; Føroyarnative; Germanynative; Great Britainnative; Greecenative; Hungarynative; IcelandintroducedAA; Irelandnative (Irelandnative, Northern Irelandnative); Italynative; Krymnative; Netherlandsnative; North European Russianative; Northwest European Russianative; Norwaynative; Polandnative; Romanianative; Sardegnanative; Sicily (MaltaintroducedAB,AC); South European Russianative; Spainnative (Spainreported in errorAD,AE); Swedennative; Switzerlandnative; Turkey-in-Europenative; Ukraine (Moldovanative, Ukrainenative); Yugoslavia (Bosnia-Herzegovinanative, Croatianative, Macedonianative: presence questionableAF, Montenegronative, Serbianative, SlovenianativeAG,AH) Northern America: Alaskaintroduced; Albertaintroduced; British Columbiaintroduced; Californiaintroduced; Coloradointroduced; Connecticutintroduced; Delawareintroduced; Idahointroduced; Illinoisintroduced; Indianaintroduced; Iowaintroduced; Kansasintroduced; Kentuckyintroduced; Labradorintroduced; LouisianaintroducedAI; Maineintroduced; Manitobaintroduced; Marylandintroduced; Massachusettsintroduced; Michiganintroduced; Minnesotaintroduced; Mississippiintroduced; Missouriintroduced; Montanaintroduced; Nebraskaintroduced; Nevadaintroduced; New Brunswickintroduced; New Hampshireintroduced; New Jerseyintroduced; New Yorkintroduced; Newfoundland (Newfoundlandintroduced, St.Pierre-Miquelonintroduced); North Carolinaintroduced; North Dakotaintroduced; Northwest Territoriesintroduced; Nova Scotiaintroduced; Nunavutintroduced; Ohiointroduced; Ontariointroduced; Oregonintroduced; Pennsylvaniaintroduced; Prince Edward I.introduced; Québecintroduced; Rhode I.introduced; Saskatchewanintroduced; South Dakotaintroduced; Tennesseeintroduced; TexasintroducedAI; Utahintroduced; Vermontintroduced; Virginiaintroduced; Washingtonintroduced; West Virginiaintroduced; Wisconsinintroduced; Wyomingintroduced; Yukonintroduced Pacific: FijiintroducedAJ Southern America: Argentina Northwest (MendozaintroducedAK,AL, San JuanintroducedAM); Chile South (MagellanesintroducedAK)

Common names

Armenian (Armenia): Կաթնբեկ դաշտայինAN,1; Bulgarian (Bulgaria): Полски кострецAO,1; Danish (Denmark): Ager-SvinemælkAP,1; English (Australia): Perennial Sow-thistleU, corn sow-thistleU; English (Great Britain): Perennial Sow-thistleAQ,1; English (New Zealand): Perennial sow thistleT; English (Northern America): Field sow-thistleAR; Estonian (Estonia): Põld-piimohakasAS,1; Finnish (Finland): PeltovalvattiAP,1; French (Belgium): Laiteron des champsAT,1; French (France): Laiteron des champsAU,1; French (Switzerland): Laiteron des champsAV,1; German (Germany): Acker-GänsedistelAW,1; German (Switzerland): Acker-GänsedistelAV,1; Icelandic (Iceland): GrísafífillAA; Italian (Italy): Grespino dei campiAX,1; Italian (Switzerland): Grespino dei campiAV,1; Latvian (Latvia): Tīruma mīkstpieneAS,1; Norwegian (Norway): ÅkerdylleAP,1; Polish (Poland): Mlecz polnyAY,1; Romanian (Moldova): Сусай де-кымпAZ,1; Russian (Armenia): Осот полевойAN,1; Swedish (Sweden): FettistelAP,2, MjölktistelAP,2, ÅkermolkeBA,1; Turkish (Turkey): SökelekBB
1. recommended, 2. synonym


Willing E. 2012: Images (3 added)


A. Lomonosova M. N. - 74. Cichorium L. - 87. Lapsana L. in Krasnoborov I. M., Flora of Siberia 13. 2007
B. Charkevič S. S., Sosudistye rastenija sovetskogo Dal’nego Vostoka 6. 1992
C. C. Shih, Flora Reipublicae Popularis Sinicae 80(1). 1997
D. Meikle, R. D., Flora of Cyprus 2. 1985
E. Osorio-Tafall, B. H. & Serafim, G. M., List of the vascular plants of Cyprus. 1973
F. Pavlov N. V., Flora Kazachstana 9. 1966
G. Akademija Nauk Kirgizskoj SSR, Institut Botaniki, Laboratorija Sistematiki Vysšich Rastenij, Flora Kirgizskoj SSR : opredelitel' rastenij Kirgizskoj SSR. 1965
H. Lazkov G. A. & Sultanova B. A., Kadastr flory Kyrgyzstana: sosudistye rasteniya / Checklist of vascular plants of Kyrgyzstan. – Norrlinia 24. 2011
I. Charkevič S. S., Sosudistye rastenija sovetskogo Dal’nego Vostoka 6. 1992 (as Sonchus arenicola Vorosch.)
J. Galuško, A. I., Flora severnogo Kavkaza 3. 1980
K. Grossgejm, A. A., Flora kavkaza 4. 1934
L. Tahtadžjan, A. L., Konspekt flory Kavkaza / Conspectus Florae Caucasi 3(1), 2008
M. Akademija Nauk Tadžikskoj SSR, Botaničeskij Institut, Flora Tadžikskoj SSR 10. 1991
N. Tahtažan, A. L., Flora Armenii 9. 1995
O. Boissier, E., Flora Orientalis 3. 1875
P. Karjagin, I. I., Flora azerbajdžana 8. 1961
Q. Kovalevsk. - in Vvedensky, Fl. Uzbekistan. 6. 1962
R. Backer C. A. & Bakhuizen van den Brink R. C., Flora of Java (Spermatophytes only). 1965
S. Merrill E. D., An Enumeration of Philippine Flowering Plants. 1923
T. Garnock-Jones P. J. - Cichorioideae in Webb C. J., Sykes W. R. & Garnock-Jones P. J., Flora of New Zealand 4. 1988
U. Jesso J. P. & Toelken H. R., Flora of South Australia, ed. 4, 3. 1986
V. Seitter, H., Die Flora des Fürstentums Liechtenstein. 1977
W. Gamisans, J., Catalogue des plantes vasculaires de la Corse. 1985
X. Guinochet, M. & Vilmorin, R. de, Flore de France 4. 1982
Y. Jeanmonod D. & Schlüssel A., Compléments au Prodrome de la Flore Corse. Asteraceae III. 2012 (as Sonchus arvensis)
Z. Jeanmonod, D. & Burdet, H. M., Catalogue des plantes vasculaires de la Corse, ed. 2. 1993
AA. Wasowicz P. & al. in Flora 208. 2013
AB. Haslam, S. M., Sell, P. D. & Wolsely, P. A., A Flora of the Maltese Islands. 1977
AC. Lanfranco, G. G. , Guide to the flora of Malta. 1955
AD. Talavera S. & al. (ed.), Flora iberica 16(2). Compositae (partim). 2017
AE. Willkomm, M. & Lange J., Prodromus florae hispanicae 2. 1865-1870 (as s)
AF. Hayek, A. von, Prodromus florae peninsulae balcanicae, 2 in Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 30(2). 1928-1931
AG. Martinčič, A., Mala flora Slovenije, ed. 3. 1999
AH. Trpin, D. & Vreš, B., Register flore Slovenije. Praprotnice in cvetnice. 1995
AI. Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.), Flora of North America. North of Mexico 19. 2006
AJ. A. C. Smith & G. D. Carr - Family 186. Asteraceae in A. C. Smith, Flora vitiensis nova 5. 1991
AK. Baeza C. M., Stuessy T. F., Tremetsberger K. & Urtubey E. - Lactucaceae in Zuloaga F. O., Morrone O. & Belgrano M. J. (eds.), Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares del Cono Sur (Argentinia, Sur de Brasil, Chile, Paraguay y Uruguay) 2. 2008
AL. Zuloaga F. O. & Morrone O. (ed.), Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares de la República Argentina II in Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 74. 1999
AM. Urtubey E. - Lactuceae in Kiesling R. (ed.), Flora de San Juan, Republica Argentina 3b. 2013
AN. Tahtadžjan, A. L., Flora Armenii 9. 1995
AO. Andreev, N. & Kozucharov, S. I., Opredelitel na vissite rastenija v Balgarija. 1992
AP. Anderberg, A. A. & Anderberg, A.-L., Den virtuella floran
AQ. Dony, J. G. , Jury, S. L. & Perring, F. H., English Names of Wild Flowers, a list recommended by the Botanical Society of the British Isles, ed. 2. 1986
AR. Brouillet L., Coursol F., Favreau M. & Anions M., VASCAN, the Database of Vascular Plants of Canada
AS. Kuusk, V., Tabaka, L. & Jankjavičene, R., Flora baltijskih republik. Svodka sosudistyh rastenij 3. 2003
AT. Mauhin, F., Les noms français des plantes vasculaires de Belgique et des Régions voisines . 2007
AU. Anonymous [Association Tela Botanica], Tela Botanica, le réseau de la botanique francophone. Flores en ligne, France métropolitaine
AV. Aeschimann, D. & Heitz, C., Index synonymique de la flore de Suisse et territoires limitrophes (ISFS). 1996
AW. Rothmaler, W., Exkursionsflora von Deutschland, 4: Gefäßpflanzen: Kritischer Band, ed. 10. 2005
AX. Pignatti, S., Flora d'Italia 3. 1982
AY. Mirek, Z., Piękoś-Mirkova, H., Zając, A. & Zając, M., in Biodivers. Poland 1. 2002
AZ. Gejdeman, T. S., Opredelitel' vysših rastenij Moldavskoj SSR, ed. 3. 1986
BA. Karlsson, T., Checklista över Nordens kärlväxter . 2004
BB. Güner A. (ed.), Türkiye Bitkileri Listesi (Damarlı Bitkiler). 2012 (as Sonchus arvensis L. subsp. arvensis)