We need to raise £10,000 from user donations to get our finances in balance. More >>>

Follow Us:

 

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    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Sonchus arvensis Field Milk Thistle, Field sowthistle, Moist sowthistle


(c) Steve Flanagan
Sonchus arvensis Field Milk Thistle, Field sowthistle, Moist sowthistle

 

Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.

Summary


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 July to October, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, flies, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies), beetles. 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].

image

The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

Shop Now

Propagation

Seed - sow spring in situ. A common garden weed, this species should not normally need any assistance.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

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

 

Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

17

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

   Jun 26 2011 12:00AM

Milk Thistle in my book is Silybum marianum, whereas Sonchus are Sow Thistles.

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.

2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.

3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Sonchus arvensis  
All the information contained in these pages is Copyright (C) Plants For A Future, 1996-2012.
Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567,
Web Design & Management
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified (but some can). Please view the copyright link for more information.