Perennial Sow-thistle - Sonchus arvensis

Alternative names
Corn Sow-thistle

Medium to tall plant with far creeping stolons, stems erect to 1.5 metres, furrowed and bristly above. Upper leaves clasping the stem with rounded basal lobes. Flowerheads golden yellow, 40 to 50 mm in lax clusters. Flower bracts with sticky, yellowish glands.

Similar Species

Both Rough Sow-thistle and Smooth Sow-thistle are similar, but Perennial Sow-thistle has larger, more showy and deeper yellow flowers. Smooth Sow-thistle has pointed leaf auricles and Rough Sow-thistle has prickly leaves.

Identification difficulty

Cultivated and waste ground, river and stream margins, roadsides.

When to see it

July to October.

Life History


UK Status

Very common throughout much of Britain, though scarcer in the north.

VC55 Status

Very common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 551 of the 617 tetrads.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map