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Sonchus crassifolius - Pourr. ex Willd.

Common Name Ensaladetas
Family Asteraceae
USDA hardiness 6-10
Known Hazards None Known
Habitats Saline and moist environments, often found in marshes and saline meadows.
Range Central & E. Spain.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Sonchus crassifolius Ensaladetas

Sonchus crassifolius Ensaladetas


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Sonchus, commonly known as sow thistles (and less commonly as hare thistles or hare lettuces), is a genus of flowering plants in the tribe Cichorieae within the family Asteraceae. These plants can be annual, biennial, or perennial herbs, and some have rhizomes. A few species are even woody, belonging to the subgenus Dendrosonchus, which is restricted to the Canary Islands and Madeira. Sonchus plants typically produce a basal rosette of deeply-toothed leaves, upright stems with clasping leaves, and yellow flowers that resemble dandelions.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Sonchus crassifolius is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.4 m (1ft 4in) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 7 and is not frost tender. The flowers are pollinated by Wind, Insects, Butterflies.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


S. simplicissimus Lag.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Leaves. It has been consumed as a wild edible plant, especially during times of food scarcity [2-4] . The young leaves and shoots can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in various dishes. Old leaves and stalks can be bitter, but young leaves have a flavour similar to that of lettuce. Due to its limited and specific habitat, Sonchus crassifolius faces threats from habitat destruction and changes in land use. Conservation efforts are essential to protect this species from extinction. By incorporating this plant into local gastronomy and recognising its medicinal properties, there is an increased awareness and appreciation for its conservation and sustainable use [2-4].

References   More on Edible Uses

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.

Traditionally, it has been used for its digestive properties. The plant contains flavonoids and phenolic acids, which contribute to its health benefits.

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Sonchus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera including Celypha rufana and the broad-barred white, grey chi, nutmeg, and shark moths. Most livestock prefer sow thistle over grass and readily eat it. This plant, related to lettuce, is also edible and nutritious for humans, which is reflected in the species name “oleraceus” of the common sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus). Sow thistles have also been used as fodder, especially for rabbits, giving rise to the common names “hare thistle” or “hare lettuce”.

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Sonchus crassifolius is adapted to saline and moist environments, often found in marshes and saline meadows. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil, and it is drought-tolerant and capable of enduring light frosts. A perennial with stems 10-40 cm, simple, glabrous. Sonchus crassifolius is a hemicryptophyte, glabrous but slightly woolly on the stems and leaf undersides, with spiny leaves and yellow flowers. Its small achenes are wider than S. maritimus, aiding in identification. The plant is found in specific Iberian regions, typically in saline and moist habitats. Bioclimatic data: The plant is in the lower mesomediterranean thermotype and semi-arid to dry ombrotype. “lower mesomediterranean thermotype and semi-arid to dry ombrotype” describes a region with mild temperatures typical of the Mediterranean climate, combined with low to very low rainfall, resulting in semi-arid to arid conditions. The plant produces bright yellow flower heads (capitula) that are both axillary and terminal.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

The plant can be propagated by seed or division, typically sown in spring or autumn. It thrives in well-drained soil and full sunlight.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Sowthistle. Ensaladetas; Spanish; Castilian: Blanquilla, Borraja, Cerraja Salinera, Cardencha, Pa de pore, Patata de bruixa, Sal de bruixa. German: Dickblättrige Gänsedistel.

Native to: Spain.

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.

None are known for this species. In many regions, sow thistles (Sonchus species) are regarded as noxious weeds because they grow quickly in various conditions and spread rapidly through wind-borne seeds. The perennial sow thistle (Sonchus arvensis) is particularly harmful economically as it competes with commercial crops, heavily consumes soil nitrogen, depletes soil moisture in fallow land, and can regrow from its creeping roots. However, sow thistles can be easily uprooted by hand, and their soft stems are not resistant to cutting or mowing.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This species has not yet been assessed for the IUCN Red List.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Sonchus arvensisField Milk Thistle, Field sowthistle, Moist sowthistlePerennial1.2 0-0  LMHSNM213
Sonchus asperPrickly Sow Thistle, Spiny sowthistleAnnual0.5 0-0  LMHSNM210
Sonchus brachyotus Perennial0.6 -  LMH M11 
Sonchus kirkiiShore Sow Thistle 0.0 -  LMHSNM10 
Sonchus oleraceusSow Thistle, Common sowthistleBiennial1.0 0-0  LMHNM222
Sonchus tenerrimusClammy Sow Thistle, Slender sowthistleAnnual/Perennial0.8 0-0  LMHSNM10 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Pourr. ex Willd.

Botanical References

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