Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.
Scientific name: Sonchus asper (L.) Hill
Common name(s): spiny sowthistle, spiny-leaved sowthistle, prickly sow thistle, sharp-fringed sow thistle
Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)
– the spines may cause redness, burning, and/or itching rashes
– milky sap
– the leaves usually have rounded lobes that clasp the stem
– may be confused with S. arvensis, which has a rhizome, or S. oleraceus, which has triangular leaf lobes; see left sidebar of Go Botany webpage
-meadows and fields
-eaten by livestock
-native to Eurasia
-the young leaves are edible
Go Botany. “Sonchus Asper (L.) Hill.” Sonchus Asper (Spiny-Leaved Sow-Thistle): Go Botany, 2021, gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org/species/sonchus/asper/.