The stems can also be used like asparagus, but are far superior if the other layer of skin is removed first. Das Substantiv English Grammar. This weed is a tall, creeping perennial that reproduces by seed and horizontal, underground roots. The main thistle species growing in both arable and grassland situations is creeping thistle. It is also found on wasteland, roadsides and in gardens. Similar species. The leaves of all are potentially edible. Annual, spreading by seed which have short plumes (pappus) of silvery-green hairs. Botanical Name: Sonchus oleraceus Other names: Annual Sow-thistle, Milk-thistle, Swine thistle Family: Asteraceae. smooth sow thistle. It's a medium to tall greyish plant with upper leaves clasping the stem with triangular, pointed basal lobes. Smooth Sow-thistle Sonchus oleraceus - leaf 2. The "difficult" thing about sow thistle identification is that the leaves change shape tremendously as the plant matures, but they always have the same basic characteristics- having what I consider to be an arrow shape, and then as they grow bigger they get more and more lobes on each leaf. Flowerheads pale yellow 20 to 25 mm, borne in lax clusters. The sow-thistles are easily distinguished by the shape of their leaves. It is also called things like hares lettuce and milk thistle (not to be confused with milk weed). Upper leaves clasp the stem with triangular, leaves with pointed basal lobes. Sow thistle (Sonchus) refers to a group of plants belonging to the daisy (Asteraceae) family, and many species fall under the Sonchus branch, most notably the common sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus). It is in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen from July to September. It has a short taproot, and deeply lobed leaves. Although grazing animals (and butterflies) actually prefer the Sonchus to grass farmers rant about the plant because it’s a weed amongst their crop. Identification . Sonchus oleraceus, with many common names including common sowthistle, sow thistle, smooth sow thistle, annual sow thistle, hare's colwort, hare's thistle, milky tassel, milk thistle, soft thistle, or swinies, is a plant in the dandelion tribe within the daisy family. It is a perennial, growing from 1 to 3 feet high, with hollow thick, branched stems full of milky juice, and thin, oblong leaves, more or less cut into (pinnatifid) with irregular, prickly teeth on the margins. Sowthistle plants are erect and fleshy plants that possess hollow, smooth stems that exude milky latex when damaged. Threshold/Yield Loss. The stems are erect, hollow, 0.5-1.2 m (2-4 ft.) high, smooth, stout, and branch at the top. Sow Thistle leaves, if young, can be added to salads or cooked like spinach. The latter is interesting, as juice from the stem is thought to have cathartic properties, and therefore cause the evacuation of the bowels. Roots: Taproot. Smooth sow-thistle is a pioneer species that colonises disturbed ground but it prefers nutrient rich soils. Identification difficulty. Spear thistle, the commonest thistle in the UK, and other less common thistle species, occur mainly as weeds of grassland. The genus Sonchus belongs to the daisy family, the Asteraceae. Use in herbal medicine Smooth Sow-thistle has been used for a number of ailments including fevers, slow or late menstruation and diarrhoea. Smooth Sow Thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) is a species from the Asteraceae or Compositae family.Also known by a variety of common names including common sow thistle, sow thistle, annual sow thistle, hare's thistle, hare's lettuce, hare's colwort, milk thistle (not Silybum marianum) and swinies.It is a native biennial commonly found in Europe including the British Isles. 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