Sonchus arvensis

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Sonchus arvensis

Common names

Armenian (Armenia): Կաթնբեկ դաշտայինA,1; Bulgarian (Bulgaria): Полски кострецB,1; Danish (Denmark): Ager-SvinemælkC,1; English (Australia): Perennial Sow-thistleD, corn sow-thistleD; English (Great Britain): Perennial Sow-thistleE,1; English (New Zealand): Perennial sow thistleF; English (Northern America): Field sow-thistleG; Estonian (Estonia): Põld-piimohakasH,1; Finnish (Finland): PeltovalvattiC,1; French (Belgium): Laiteron des champsI,1; French (France): Laiteron des champsJ,1; French (Switzerland): Laiteron des champsK,1; German (Germany): Acker-GänsedistelL,1; German (Switzerland): Acker-GänsedistelK,1; Icelandic (Iceland): GrísafífillM; Italian (Italy): Grespino dei campiN,1; Italian (Switzerland): Grespino dei campiK,1; Latvian (Latvia): Tīruma mīkstpieneH,1; Norwegian (Norway): ÅkerdylleC,1; Polish (Poland): Mlecz polnyO,1; Romanian (Moldova): Сусай де-кымпP,1; Russian (Armenia): Осот полевойA,1; Swedish (Sweden): FettistelC,2, MjölktistelC,2, ÅkermolkeQ,1; Turkish (Turkey): SökelekR
1. recommended, 2. synonym


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: Algeria (Algerianative: presence questionable) Asia-Temperate: Altay (Altayreported in errorS); Amur (Amurreported in errorT); Buryatiya (Buryatiyadoubtfully presentS); China North-Central (Gansureported in error, Hebeireported in error, Shaanxireported in error, Shanxireported in error); China South-Central (Hubeireported in errorU, Sichuanreported in error, Yunnanreported in error); China Southeast (Guangxireported in errorU, Henanreported in error, Hunanreported in errorU, Jiangsureported in error, Zhejiangreported in error); Chita (Chitadoubtfully presentS); Cyprus (Cyprusnative: presence questionableV,W); Inner Mongolia (Ningxiareported in errorU); Irkutsk (Irkutskdoubtfully presentS); Kamchatka (Kamchatkadoubtfully presentT); Kazakhstan (KazakhstannativeX); Khabarovsk (Khabarovskdoubtfully presentT); Kirgizistan (Kirgizistanreported in errorY,Z); Krasnoyarsk (Krasnoyarskdoubtfully presentS); Kuril Is. (Kuril Is.doubtfully presentAA); Magadan (Magadandoubtfully presentT); Manchuria (Heilongjiangreported in error, Jilinreported in error, Liaoningreported in error); Mongoliareported in error (Mongoliareported in errorAB); North CaucasusnativeAC,AD (DagestannativeAE, Kabardino-BalkariyanativeAE, Karacheyevo-CherkessiyanativeAE, KrasnodarnativeAE, StavropolnativeAE); Primorye (Primoryedoubtfully presentAA); Qinghai (Qinghaireported in error); Sakhalin (Sakhalindoubtfully presentAA); Tadzhikistan (Tadzhikistanreported in errorAF); Tibet (Tibetreported in error); Transcaucasus (Abkhaziyanative, Adzhariyanative, ArmenianativeAD,AE,AG, Azerbaijannative: presence questionableAD,AE,AH,AI, Georgianative); Turkey (Turkeynative); Tuva (Tuvadoubtfully presentS); Uzbekistan (Uzbekistandoubtfully presentAJ); West Siberia (West Siberiadoubtfully presentS); Xinjiang (Xinjiangreported in error); Yakutskiya (Yakutskiyadoubtfully presentS) Asia-Tropical: Jawa (Jawadoubtfully presentAK); Philippines (Philippinesreported in errorAL) Australasia: New Zealand North (New Zealand NorthintroducedF); New Zealand South (New Zealand SouthintroducedF); South Australia (South AustraliaintroducedD) Europe: Albania (Albanianative); Austrianative (Austrianative, LiechtensteinnativeAM); Baleares (Balearesnative: presence questionable); Baltic States (Estonianative, Kaliningradnative, Latvianative, Lithuanianative); Belarus (Belarusnative); Belgiumnative (Belgiumnative, Luxembourgnative); Bulgaria (Bulgarianative); Central European Russia (Central European Russianative); Corse (Corsereported in errorAN,AO,AP,AQ); Czechoslovakia (Czech Republicnative, Slovakianative: doubtfully native); Denmark (Denmarknative); East European Russia (East European Russianative); Finland (Finlandnative); Francenative; Føroyar (Føroyarnative); Germany (Germanynative); Great Britain (Great Britainnative); Greece (Greecenative); Hungary (Hungarynative); Iceland (IcelandintroducedM); Irelandnative (Irelandnative, Northern Irelandnative); Italynative; Krym (Krymnative); Netherlands (Netherlandsnative); North European Russia (North European Russianative); Northwest European Russia (Northwest European Russianative); Norway (Norwaynative); Poland (Polandnative); Romania (Romanianative); Sardegna (Sardegnanative); Sicily (MaltaintroducedAR,AS); South European Russia (South European Russianative); Spain (Spainreported in errorAT,AU); Sweden (Swedennative); Switzerland (Switzerlandnative); Turkey-in-Europe (Turkey-in-Europenative); Ukraine (Moldovanative, Ukrainenative); Yugoslavia (Bosnia-Herzegovinanative, Croatianative, Macedonianative: presence questionableAV, Montenegronative, Serbianative, SlovenianativeAW,AX) Northern America: Alaska (Alaskaintroduced); Alberta (Albertaintroduced); British Columbia (British Columbiaintroduced); California (Californiaintroduced); Colorado (Coloradointroduced); Connecticut (Connecticutintroduced); Delaware (Delawareintroduced); Idaho (Idahointroduced); Illinois (Illinoisintroduced); Indiana (Indianaintroduced); Iowa (Iowaintroduced); Kansas (Kansasintroduced); Kentucky (Kentuckyintroduced); Labrador (Labradorintroduced); Louisiana (LouisianaintroducedAY); Maine (Maineintroduced); Manitoba (Manitobaintroduced); Maryland (Marylandintroduced); Massachusetts (Massachusettsintroduced); Michigan (Michiganintroduced); Minnesota (Minnesotaintroduced); Mississippi (Mississippiintroduced); Missouri (Missouriintroduced); Montana (Montanaintroduced); Nebraska (Nebraskaintroduced); Nevada (Nevadaintroduced); New Brunswick (New Brunswickintroduced); New Hampshire (New Hampshireintroduced); New Jersey (New Jerseyintroduced); New York (New Yorkintroduced); Newfoundland (Newfoundlandintroduced, St.Pierre-Miquelonintroduced); North Carolina (North Carolinaintroduced); North Dakota (North Dakotaintroduced); Northwest Territories (Northwest Territoriesintroduced); Nova Scotia (Nova Scotiaintroduced); Nunavut (Nunavutintroduced); Ohio (Ohiointroduced); Ontario (Ontariointroduced); Oregon (Oregonintroduced); Pennsylvania (Pennsylvaniaintroduced); Prince Edward I. (Prince Edward I.introduced); Québec (Québecintroduced); Rhode I. (Rhode I.introduced); Saskatchewan (Saskatchewanintroduced); South Dakota (South Dakotaintroduced); Tennessee (Tennesseeintroduced); Texas (TexasintroducedAY); Utah (Utahintroduced); Vermont (Vermontintroduced); Virginia (Virginiaintroduced); Washington (Washingtonintroduced); West Virginia (West Virginiaintroduced); Wisconsin (Wisconsinintroduced); Wyoming (Wyomingintroduced); Yukon (Yukonintroduced) Pacific: Fiji (FijiintroducedAZ) Southern America: Argentina Northwest (MendozaintroducedBA,BB, San JuanintroducedBC); Chile South (MagellanesintroducedBA)


Willing E. 2012: Images (3 added)


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