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Sonchus oleraceus L.
common sowthistle

General Information
Symbol: SOOL
Group: Dicot
Family: Asteraceae
Duration: Annual
Growth Habit: Forb/herb
Native Status: AK   I
GL   I
HI   I
L48   I
PB   I
PR   I
VI   I
Other Common Names: pualele
sow thistle
Data Source and Documentation
Plants-NRCS Logos
green round image for nativity Native blue round image for introduced Introduced ocre round image for introduced and nativity Both white round image for no status Absent/Unreported
image for native, but no county data Native, No County Data image for introduced, but no county data Introduced, No County Data both introduced and native, but no county data Both, No County Data
Native Status:
lower 48 status L48    Alaska status AK    Hawaii status HI    Puerto Rico status PR    Virgin Islands status VI    Navassa Island NAV    Canada status CAN    Greenland status GL    Saint Pierre and Michelon status SPM    North America NA   


click on a thumbnail to view an image, or see all the Sonchus thumbnails at the Plants Gallery

©Richard A. Howard. Provided by Smithsonian Institution, Richard A. Howard Photograph Collection. United States, HI, Molokai. Usage Requirements.

Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. Vol. 3: 317. Provided by Kentucky Native Plant Society. Scanned by Omnitek Inc. Usage Requirements.




Click on a scientific name below to expand it in the PLANTS Classification Report.
Rank Scientific Name and Common Name
Kingdom Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Asterales
Family Asteraceae ⁄ Compositae – Aster family
Genus Sonchus L. – sowthistle
Species Sonchus oleraceus L. – common sowthistle

Subordinate Taxa

This plant has no children

Legal Status

U.S. Weed Information
Sonchus oleraceus
annual sowthistle
sow thistle
This plant can be weedy or invasive according to the authoritative sources noted below.This plant may be known by one or more common names in different places, and some are listed above. Click on an acronym to view each weed list, or click here for a composite list of Weeds of the U.S.
N'EAST Uva, R.H., J.C. Neal,and J.M. DiTomaso. 1997. Weeds of the Northeast. Cornell University Press. Ithaca, New York.
SWSS Southern Weed Science Society. 1998. Weeds of the United States and Canada. CD-ROM. Southern Weed Science Society. Champaign, Illinois.
WSWS Whitson, T.D. (ed.) et al.. 1996. Weeds of the West. Western Society of Weed Science in cooperation with Cooperative Extension Services, University of Wyoming. Laramie, Wyoming.

Wetland Status

Interpreting Wetland Status

Top Level Regions
Caribbean FACU
Lower 48 States FACUPL
North America FACUPL
Pacific Basin FACUPL
North America
Alaska UPL
Arid West UPL
Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain FACU
Eastern Mountains and Piedmont UPL
Great Plains UPL
Midwest FACU
Northcentral & Northeast FACU
Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast UPL



Source Large Mammals Small Mammals Water Birds Terrestrial Birds
Everitt Minor


Source Large Mammals Small Mammals Water Birds Terrestrial Birds


Everitt, J.H., D.L. Drawe, and R.I. Lonard. 1999. Field guide to the broad leaved herbaceous plants of South Texas used by livestock and wildlife. Texas Tech University Press. Lubbock.

Description of Values

Value Class Food Cover
High Average 25-50% of diet Regular source of cover
Low 5-10% of diet Infrequently used as cover
Minor 2-5% of diet Sparsely used as cover
Moderate Average 10-25% of diet Occasional source of cover