Prickly Sow-thistle - Sonchus asper


Short to tall plant, hairless except for a few glandular hairs on the upper stem. Stem angled, often reddening, sometimes branched to 1.2 metres. The upper leaves are shiny green and prickly they clasp the stem with rounded basal lobes. Flowerheads golden yellow, 20 to 25 mm in lax clusters, bracts without glandular hairs.

Similar Species

Smooth Sow-thistle has pointed auricles (lobes at the leaf base) and lacks the red glandular stem hairs. Perennial Sow-thistle has yellow hairs on the bracts.

Photo ID?

Cultivated and waste land, roadsides.

When to see it

June to August.

Life History


UK Status

Very common throughout Britain except in some parts of the Scottish Highlands.

VC55 Status

Very common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 583 of the 617 tetrads.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map

UK Map