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PlantFiles: Sow Thistle, Prickly Sow Thistle
Sonchus asper

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sonchus (SON-chus) (Info)
Species: asper (AS-per) (Info)


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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to view:

By Floridian
Thumbnail #1 of Sonchus asper by Floridian

By Floridian
Thumbnail #2 of Sonchus asper by Floridian

By kennedyh
Thumbnail #3 of Sonchus asper by kennedyh

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #4 of Sonchus asper by Jeff_Beck

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #5 of Sonchus asper by Jeff_Beck

By Equilibrium
Thumbnail #6 of Sonchus asper by Equilibrium

By Equilibrium
Thumbnail #7 of Sonchus asper by Equilibrium

There are a total of 16 photos.
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1 positive
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive sherman99 On Oct 3, 2010, sherman99 from Menifee, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

bees love this plant. wish i had more of them. no trouble to grow, however, my neighbors think i am nuts for having this "weed" in my garden

Neutral melody On Aug 24, 2005, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

I do not grow this plant, information only.

This little weed is found along roadsides and in waste places throughout North America.

The yellow flowers look like dandelions and the stems contain milky sap. It is an annual and reseeds with abandon.

All sow thistles can be used as potherbs.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona
Menifee, California
San Mateo, California
Milton, Florida
Roswell, New Mexico

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