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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Common sowthistle
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Sonchus
Species: S. oleraceus
Binomial name
Sonchus oleraceus

Sonchus oleraceus (Common sowthistle,[1] Sow thistle,[2] Smooth Sow Thistle, Annual Sow Thistle, Hare's Colwort, Hare's Thistle, Milky Tassel, Swinies) is a medicinal plant native to Asia and Europe, which is nutritious food for humans and most livestock.


Nutritive qualities

The common name Sow thistle refers to its attractiveness to swine and the similarity of the leaf to the ear of a pig, while the oleraceus portion of the Latin name refers to its delectible nature[1] (sonchus refers to the hollow stem). Another common name Hare's thistle refers to its beneficial effects and attractiveness for hare and rabbits.

It also has been ascribed medicinal qualities similar to dandelion and succory.[2] Leaves are usually the part which people eat, and they are useful as salad greens, or cooked like spinach. Blanching or boiling removes bitter flavour. Nutritional analysis reveals 30 - 40mg of vitamin C per 100g, 1.2% protein, 0.3% fat, 2.4% carbohydrate.

Leaf dry weight analysis[3] shows per 100g (likely to vary with growing conditions):

45g Carbohydrate, 28g protein, 22g ash, 5.9g fibre, 4.5g fat; in all, providing 265 calories.

Calcium: 1500mg
Phosphorus: 500mg
Iron: 45.6mg
Magnesium: 0mg
Sodium: 0mg
Potassium: 0mg
Zinc: 0mg;

A: 35mg
Thiamine (B1): 1.5mg
Riboflavin (B2): 5mg
Niacin: 5mg
B6: 0mg
C: 60mg


This plant is considered an invasive species in many parts of the world, where it is found mostly in disturbed areas.[3][4] It spreads by seed which is carried by wind or water, and can often be controlled by mowing as it does not regrow from root fragments.[4] This is one of the species used in Chinese cuisine as kŭcài (; lit. bitter vegetable).[5]

Botanical characteristics

The flowers are hermaphrodite, and common pollinators include bees or flies.[4] Prefers full sun, but can tolerate most soil conditions.

Medicinal value

Sonchus oleraceus has a variety of medicinal uses.[5] Parts of the plant have been used variously to stimulate menstrual flow, alter liver function, stimulate fluid elimination, stall defecation, and to combat cancer, warts, inflammation and fever.


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.[6]


  1. ^ Sonchus oleraceus at USDA PLANTS Database
  2. ^ Sonchus oleraceus at Plants For A Future
  3. ^ Sonchus oleraceus at Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants
  4. ^ a b Sonchus oleraceus L., Asteraceae, Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)
  5. ^ "Kucai Baidu Encyclopedia (苦菜_百度百科) (Mandarin language)". Retrieved 2008-02-07.  


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Sonchus oleraceus


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: Sonchus oleraceus


Sonchus oleraceus L.


  • Species Plantarum 2:794. 1753 (type species)
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Data from 07-Oct-06]. [1]

Vernacular names

Català: Lletsó d'hort
Corsu: Lattaghjolu
Dansk: Almindelig Svinemælk
Deutsch: Gemüse-Gänsedistel
Ελληνικά: Ζοχός
English: Smooth Sowthistle
Español: Cerraja
Esperanto: Ordinara sonko
Français: Laiteron commun
한국어: 방가지똥
Italiano: Cicerbita
Nederlands: Gewone melkdistel
日本語: ノゲシ(ハルノノゲシ)
Português: Serralha
Runa Simi: Salsa salsa
Русский: Осот огородный
Slovenščina: navadna škrbinka
Svenska: Kålmolke
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Category:Sonchus oleraceus on Wikimedia Commons.


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