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 

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    Auricles of stem-leaves rounded.  Achenes not rugose. Leaves can be very similar to S oleraceus but usually more sharply toothed

    Recording advice

    Photograph of stem and leaves, showing auricles


    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.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

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

    UK Map