Sonchus oleraceus L.

Family: Asteraceae, Tribe: Cicharieae

Pertinent Synonyms & Notes (particularly those used in California; go to GRIN for other synonyms)

Sonchus ciliatus Lam.

Pertinent Common Names (particularly those used in California; go to GRIN for other common names)

common sowthistle

Primary Disseminule Type


Description (diagnostics are in brown)

Fruit a cypsela, oblanceolate, sometimes slightly curved and/or twisted, compressed, cross-section outline elliptic with pointed ends (biconvex to fusiform), (2.3)2.5–3(4) mm long x 0.8–1.5 mm wide x 0.2–0.3 mm thick. Surface brown, dull, glabrous, transversely wrinkled (appearing tuberculate), longitudinally ribbed (typically 3 ribs on each face plus the 2 ribs on the edges). Pappus ± persistent, bristles 5–8 mm long (ca. 2 times the length of the fruit body), numerous, fine, white.

Style base inconspicuous, apical scar (when pappus is removed) ± raised, 0.25–0.35 mm across.

Fruit attachment scar basal, a polygonal (4-segmented) cup-like extension of the fruit.

Similar Species

Similar Species Comparison Chart

Risk Assessment (codes in yellow or red indicate cause for concern; assessments are current as of mid-2011; click AUQP, NZBORIC, or NZBPI for access to the most recent versions of these databases and possible assessment changes)