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Puha redirects here - for the small settlement in New Zealand's North Island, see Puha, New Zealand.
Sowthistles
Sonchus oleraceus (Smooth Sow-Thistle)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Sonchus
L.
Species

Sonchus asper - spiny sow thistle
Sonchus arvensis - field or perennial sow thistle
Sonchus dregeanus
Sonchus hydrophilus[1]
Sonchus integrifolius
Sonchus kirkii - puha or rauriki
Sonchus nanus
Sonchus oleraceus - common sow thistle
Sonchus tenerrimus[1]
Sonchus wilmsii - milk thistle

Sow thistles (less commonly hare thistles or hare lettuces) are annual herbs in the genus Sonchus, after their Ancient Greek name. All are characterized by soft, somewhat irregularly lobed leaves that clasp the stem and, at least initially, form a basal rosette. The stem contains a milky sap. Flower heads are yellow and range in size from half to one inch in diameter; the florets are all of ray type. Sow thistles are common roadside plants, and while native to Eurasia and tropical Africa, they are found almost worldwide in temperate regions. Like the true thistles, sow thistles are in the family Asteraceae.

Mature sow thistle stems can range from 30 cm to 2 m (1 to 6 feet) tall, depending upon species and growing conditions. Colouration ranges from green to purple in older plants. Sow thistles exude a milky latex when any part of the plant is cut or damaged, and it is from this fact that the plants obtained the common name, "sow thistle", as they were fed to lactating sows in the belief that milk production would increase. Sow thistles are known as "milk thistles" in some regions, although true milk thistles belong to the genus Silybum.

Sow thistles have been used as fodder, particularly for rabbits, hence the other common names of "hare thistle" or "hare lettuce". They are also edible to humans as a leaf vegetable; old leaves and stalks can be bitter but young leaves have a flavour similar to lettuce. Going by the name puha or rareke (raraki) it is frequently eaten in New Zealand as a vegetable, particularly by the native Māori. When cooked it tastes a little similar to chard.

In many areas sow thistles are considered noxious weeds,[2] as they grow quickly in a wide range of conditions and their wind-borne seeds allow them to spread rapidly. Sonchus arvensis, the perennial sow thistle, is considered the most economically detrimental, as it can crowd commercial crops, is a heavy consumer of nitrogen in soils, may deplete soil water of land left to fallow, and can regrow and sprout additional plants from its creeping roots. However, sow thistles are easily uprooted by hand, and their soft stems present little resistance to slashing or mowing. Most livestock will readily devour sow thistle in preference to grass, and this lettuce-relative is edible and nutritious to humans -- in fact this is the meaning of the second part of the Latin name, oleraceus.[1] Attempts at weed control by herbicidal use, to the neglect of other methods, may have led to a proliferation of this species in some environments.[2]

Sonchus tenerrimus and Sonchus oleraceus infest many crops in Italy, especially in the Southern area of the peninsula. Here they are also considered good taste edible plants and they are cooked with spaghetti.

In traditional medicine, the plant has medicinal qualities, having "nearly the same properties as Dandelion and Succory"[3].

Sow thistles are common host plants for aphids. Gardeners may consider this a benefit or a curse; aphids may spread from sow thistle to other plants, but alternatively the sow thistle can encourage the growth of beneficial predators such as hoverflies. In this regard sow thistles make excellent sacrificial plants. Sonchus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Broad-barred White, Grey Chi, The Nutmeg and The Shark.

References

  1. ^ a b "Sonchus". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government, Canberra. http://www.anbg.gov.au/cgi-bin/apni?TAXON_NAME=SONCUS. Retrieved 2008-11-02.  
  2. ^ Sonchus arvensis L., USDA PLANTS
  • Everitt, J.H.; Lonard, R.L., Little, C.R. (2007). Weeds in South Texas and Northern Mexico. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press.   ISBN 0-89672-614-2
  • Low, Tim. Wild Herbs of Australia and New Zealand. Rev. ed. Angus and Robertson, 1991. ISBN 0-207-17001-0.

External links

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Wikibooks

Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Horticulture/Sonchus article)

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

< Horticulture
Sonchus
Sonchus

Sow Thistles
Sonchus asper2.jpg
Genus: Sonchus
Family: Asteraceae
Weediness: Weedy
Pollination: Insects
Seed Dispersal: Wind

Sow thistle (less commonly hare thistle or hare lettuce) is the common name for a number of related annual herbs in the Genus Sonchus, the ancient Greek name for these plants. Sow thistles are common roadside plants, and while native to Eurasia and tropical Africa, they are found almost worldwide in temperate regions. In some regions sow thistles are known as "milk thistles", although a true milk thistle is placed in a different genus.

Description

All are characterized by soft, somewhat irregularly lobed leaves that clasp the stem and, at least initially, form a basal rosette. The stem contains a milky sap. Flower heads are yellow and range in size from half to one inch in diameter; the florets are all of ray type.

Mature sow thistle stems can range from 30 cm to 2 m (1 to 6 feet) tall, depending upon species and growing conditions. Colourations range from green to purple in older plants. Sow thistles exude a milky latex when any part of the plant is cut or damaged, and it is from this fact that the plants obtained the common name, "sow thistle", as they were fed to lactating sows in the belief that milk production would increase.

Growing Conditions

Widely adaptable to soils, full sun.

Varieties

Sonchus asper - spiny sow thistle
Sonchus arvensis - field or perennial sow thistle
Sonchus dregeanus
Sonchus integrifolius
Sonchus nanus
Sonchus oleraceus - common sow thistle
Sonchus wilmsii - milk thistle

Uses

The plant has been used as a stockfeed and particularly as a feed for rabbits, hence the other common names of "hare thistle" or "hare lettuce". The plant is also edible by humans as a leaf vegetable; old leaves and stalks can be bitter, but young leaves have a flavour similar to lettuce. Going by the name puha it is frequently eaten in New Zealand as a vegetable, particularly by the native Māori. When cooked it tastes similar to chard.

Maintenance

In many areas sow thistles are considered a noxious weed, as they grow quickly in a wide range of conditions, and their wind-bourne seeds allow them to spread rapidly. Sonchus arvensis, the perennial sow thistle, is considered the most economically detrimental, as it can crowd commercial crops, is a heavy consumer of nitrogen in soils, and can regrow and sprout additional plants from its creeping roots.

Sow thistles are easily uprooted by hand, and their soft stems present little resistance to slashing or mowing. Most livestock will readily devour sow thistle in preference to grass.

Pests and Diseases

Sow thistles are a common host plant for aphids. Gardeners may consider this a benefit or a curse; aphids may spread from sow thistle to other plants, but alternatively the sow thistle can encourage the growth of beneficial predators such as hoverflies. In this regard sow thistles make excellent sacrificial plants.

w:Broad-barred White, w:Grey Chi, The Nutmeg and The Shark

References


Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Sonchus olaraceus

Taxonavigation

Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Euasterids II
Ordo: Asterales
Familia: Asteraceae
Subfamilia: Cichorioideae
Tribus: Cichorieae
Subtribus: Hyoseridinae
Genus: Sonchus
Species: S. acaulis - S. arvensis - S. asper - S. bornmuelleri - S. bourgeaui -S. brachyotus - S. canariensis - S. congestus - S. daltonii - S. exauriculatus - S. fauces-orci - S. gandogeri - S. gomerensis - S. gummifer - S. hierrensis - S. lidii - S. oleraceus S. ortunoi - S. palmensis - S. palustris - S. pinnatifidus - S. pitardii - S. radicatus - S. tectifolius - S. tenerrimus - S. tuberifer - S. wildpretii -

Name

Sonchus L.

Vernacular names

English: Sow thistle
日本語: ノゲシ属

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