*Sonchus oleraceus


Common Sow Thistle

Annual or ephemeral herb to 1 m, with milky sap, taproot and fibrous roots. Longevity less than 1 year.

Flowers: Pale yellow, most of the year.

Fruit: Achene 4 mm long with pappus of fine hairs to 8 mm long.

Seed: Wind dispersed.

Gallery images: seed, seedling, rootstock, resprout


  • Native of Europe.
  • Weed of cultivation, pastures and disturbed areas.
  • Common in woodland at the Australian Botanic Garden.
  • Seedlings noted in burnt and unburnt areas after rain.

Asterisk * indicates exotic species naturalised at the Australian Botanic Garden.

Ecology of Cumberland Plain Woodland

Sonchus oleraceus flower

Sonchus oleraceus fruit

Sonchus oleraceus seed