Sonchus oleraceus L.

Sow Thistle

Sp. Pl. 794 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Annuals or biennials to c. 1.8 m high. Leaves lanceolate to oblanceolate in outline, entire, pinnatifid, pinnatisect, occasionally almost bipinnatisect, thin-textured, glabrous, often glaucous, apex acute or obtuse, margins entire or denticulate, not prickly; basal leaves rosetted or not, 4–25 cm long, 2–10 cm wide lacking auricles; cauline leaves 3–35 cm long, 2–12 cm wide, with acute auricles. Peduncles glabrous or glandular-hairy; involucre 8–13 mm long; bracts glabrous, glabrescent or with persistent glandular hair along midline; ligules 5–8 mm long, c. equal to corolla-tube. Cypselas obovoid, 2.2–3.2 mm long, moderately compressed, 3-ribbed on each face, transversely wrinkled all over, margins narrow, glabrous; pappus 5–8 mm long. Flowers most of the year.

*Brid, *CVU, *DunT, *EGL, *EGU, *GipP, *Glep, *Gold, *GGr, *HFE, *HNF, *HSF, *LoM, *MonT, *MuF, *MuM, *MSB, *NIS, *OtP, *OtR, *RobP, *SnM, *Strz, *VAlp, *VRiv, *VVP, *WaP, *WPro, *Wim. Also naturalised WA, NT, SA, Qld, NSW, ACT, Tas, New Zealand. Native to Europe and south-western Asia. Native to Europe and south-western Asia. Almost throughout Victoria and a common weed of disturbed areas, gardens etc., as well as reasonably intact native vegetation.

Source: Jeanes, J.A. (1999). Asteraceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 4, Cornaceae to Asteraceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Daniel Ohlsen, 2016-01-14
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Asteranae
order Asterales
family Asteraceae
genus Sonchus
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Sonchus oleraceus in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Sonchus oleraceus in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present naturalised
Murray Mallee present naturalised
Wimmera present naturalised
Glenelg Plain present naturalised
Bridgewater present naturalised
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Murray Scroll Belt present naturalised
Robinvale Plains present naturalised
Murray Fans present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Warrnambool Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
Greater Grampians present naturalised
Dundas Tablelands present naturalised
Northern Inland Slopes present naturalised
East Gippsland Lowlands present naturalised
East Gippsland Uplands present naturalised
Wilsons Promontory present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised
Highlands-Northern Fall present naturalised
Otway Ranges present naturalised
Strzelecki Ranges present naturalised
Monaro Tablelands present naturalised
Highlands-Far East present naturalised
Victorian Alps present naturalised
Snowy Mountains present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory