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Sonchus arvensis - L.
                 
Common Name Field Milk Thistle, Field sowthistle, Moist sowthistle
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Arable and waste land, ditches and on the drift line of salt and brackish margins, avoiding acid soils[4, 9, 17]. A persistent weed of cultivation[1].
Range Europe, including Britain, south and east from Scandanavia to Spain and W. Asia.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary

Sonchus arvensis Field Milk Thistle, Field sowthistle, Moist sowthistle


(c) Steve Flanagan
Sonchus arvensis Field Milk Thistle, Field sowthistle, Moist sowthistle
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Sonchus arvensis is a PERENNIAL growing to 1.2 m (4ft).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to October, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera, beetles, self.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Habitats
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root;  Stem.
Edible Uses: Coffee.

Young leaves - raw or cooked[4, 5, 52, 54]. A slightly bitter taste, they can be added to salads or cooked like spinach[9, 183]. The leaves are rich in mineral salts and vitamin C[9], they contain about 47mg of vitamin C per 100g and 2% protein (dry weight)[173]. It might be best, though it is not necessary, to remove the marginal prickles[9]. Stems - cooked like asparagus or rhubarb[12]. Young root - cooked[12]. The roasted root is used as a coffee substitute[177, 183].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiinflammatory;  Pectoral;  Sedative.

The leaves are used as a poultice and are said to have anti-inflammatory activity[4, 222]. An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of caked breasts[257]. A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of asthma, coughs and other chest complaints[222]. A tea made from the leaves is said to calm the nerves[222].
Other Uses
Insecticide.

The plant is said to have insecticidal properties[218].
Cultivation details
A common garden weed, see notes on its habitat if you want to encourage it. This species has been cultivated for its edible leaves by the Maoris of New Zealand, in Indonesia there are improved varieties selected for their edible leaves[153, 183]. A good companion for onions, tomatoes, corn as well as the cucumber and squash family[20].
Propagation
Seed - sow spring in situ. A common garden weed, this species should not normally need any assistance.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Sonchus asperPrickly Sow Thistle, Spiny sowthistle21
Sonchus brachyotus 11
Sonchus kirkiiShore Sow Thistle10
Sonchus oleraceusSow Thistle, Common sowthistle22
Sonchus tenerrimusClammy Sow Thistle, Slender sowthistle10
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Expert comment
 
Author
L.
Botanical References
17
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
 
Anthony P.
Jun 26 2011 12:00AM
Milk Thistle in my book is Silybum marianum, whereas Sonchus are Sow Thistles.
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Subject : Sonchus arvensis  

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