Sow Thistle

Sow Thistle Offers Multiple Menu Options

Found almost everywhere, this dandelion look-alike is equally as versatile.

Name: SOW THISTLE
(Sonchus oleraceus and other species)

Sunflower family (Asteraceae) 

DESCRIPTION

Sow thistle is commonly mistaken for dandelion, to which it is related. Sow thistle is an annual weed with a more or less erect stem that grows from 1 to 4 feet tall.

The young plant forms a rosette of large, pinnately divided leaves, which are characterized by their almost-triangular terminal lobe. The young sow thistle is distinguished from dandelion by its tender, bluish-green leaves. The lower leaves on the mature plant are glaucous (dull, grayish-green or blue) and pinnately divided. The upper leaves of the mature plant are more or less entire, and they clasp the stem. When a leaf is torn or the stem is cut, a white sap oozes out.

The sow thistle flower is very similar to a dandelion flower. (Photo: Christopher Nyerges)

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