Sonchus arvensis
Sonchus arvensis.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Sonchus
S. arvensis
Binomial name
Sonchus arvensis
L. 1753
  • Hieracium arvense (L.) Scop.
  • Sonchoseris arvensis Fourr.
  • Sonchoseris decora Fourr.
  • Sonchus exaltatus Wallr.
  • Sonchus glandulosus Schur
  • Sonchus hantoniensis Sweet
  • Sonchus hispidus Gilib.
  • Sonchus laevissimus Schur
  • Sonchus nitidus Vill.
  • Sonchus pratensis Schur
  • Sonchus repens Bubani
  • Sonchus vulgaris Rouy
  • Sonchus humilis N.I.Orlova
  • Sonchus ketzkhovelii Schchian
  • Sonchus uliginosus M.Bieb.

Sonchus arvensis, the field milk thistle,[2]field sowthistle,[3]perennial sow-thistle,[4]corn sow thistle, dindle, gutweed, swine thistle, or tree sow thistle, is a species of flowering plant in the daisy family Asteraceae. S. arvensis often occurs in annual crop fields and may cause substantial yield losses.[5]


The plant grows up to 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) in height,[6]: 744  with leaves 10–35 cm (4–13+34 in) long and 4–14 cm (1+125+12 in) wide.[7] It produces conspicuous yellow flowerheads about 3–5 cm (1+14–2 in) wide,[7] which are visited by various types of insects—especially hoverflies of the genus Eristalis.[8]


Sonchus arvensis is native to Europe, where it is widespread across most of the continent.[9] It has also become naturalized in many other regions, and is considered an invasive noxious weed in some places, such as North America (including Prince Edward Island),[10]Russia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Australia.[11][12][13]

It grows in areas such as pastures, roadsides, bushlands and the shorelines of lakes, rivers[14] and sea coast.[15]


The young leaves, when less than a few inches long and not bitter in taste, can be mixed with other greens to make salad. They can also be boiled in a small quantity of water, changed once. The plant can contain toxic nitrates.[7]



  1. ^ The Plant List, Sonchus arvensis L.
  2. ^ Sonchus arvensis at Plants For A Future
  3. ^ "Sonchus arvensis". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  4. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  5. ^ "Sonchus arvensis (perennial sowthistle)". Invasive Species Compendium. 2019-11-19. Retrieved 2020-11-17.
  6. ^ Stace, C. A. (2019). New Flora of the British Isles (Fourth ed.). Middlewood Green, Suffolk, U.K.: C & M Floristics. ISBN 978-1-5272-2630-2.
  7. ^ a b c Elias, Thomas S.; Dykeman, Peter A. (2009) [1982]. Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide to Over 200 Natural Foods. New York: Sterling. p. 103. ISBN 978-1-4027-6715-9. OCLC 244766414.
  8. ^ Van Der Kooi, C. J.; Pen, I.; Staal, M.; Stavenga, D. G.; Elzenga, J. T. M. (2015). "Competition for pollinators and intra-communal spectral dissimilarity of flowers". Plant Biology. 18 (1): 56–62. doi:10.1111/plb.12328. PMID 25754608.
  9. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, Sonchus arvensis L. includes photos, European distribution map
  10. ^ Guardian, The. "'Giant dandelion' taking up space in P.E.I." The Guardian (Charlottetown). Retrieved 2020-11-17.
  11. ^ "List of invasive species in the Great Lakes Great Lakes United / Union Saint-Laurent Grands Lacs". Archived from the original on 2009-04-29. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
  12. ^ Davidse, G., M. Sousa-Peña, S. Knapp & F. Chiang Cabrera. 2015. Asteraceae. 5(2): ined. In G. Davidse, M. Sousa Sánchez, S. Knapp & F. Chiang Cabrera (eds.) Flora Mesoamericana. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F..
  13. ^ Atlas of Living Australia
  14. ^ Corn sowthistle (Sonchus arvensis) by NSW WeedWise
  15. ^ "Sonchus arvensis". Online Atlas of the British Flora. Biological Records Centre and Botanical society of Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 17 November 2020.

External links