Sonchus oleraceus

Common sowthistle
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Sonchus
Species: S. oleraceus
Binomial name
Sonchus oleraceus
Green salad with carrot, cucumber, onion, Sonchus oleraceus leaves and tomato slices.

Sonchus oleraceus (Common sowthistle,[1] Sow thistle,[2] Smooth Sow Thistle, Annual Sow Thistle, Hare's Colwort, Hare's Thistle, Milky Tassel, Swinies) is a medicinal plant native to Asia and Europe, which is nutritious food for humans and most livestock.


Nutritive qualities

The common name Sow thistle refers to its attractiveness to swine and the similarity of the leaf to the ear of a pig, while the oleraceus portion of the Latin name refers to its delectable nature [1] (sonchus refers to the hollow stem). Another common name Hare's thistle refers to its beneficial effects and attractiveness for hare and rabbits.

It also has been ascribed medicinal qualities similar to dandelion and succory.[2] Leaves are usually the part which people eat, and they are useful as salad greens, or cooked like spinach. Blanching or boiling removes bitter flavour. Nutritional analysis reveals 30 – 40 mg of vitamin C per 100g, 1.2% protein, 0.3% fat, 2.4% carbohydrate.

Leaf dry weight analysis [3] shows per 100g (likely to vary with growing conditions):

45g Carbohydrate, 28g protein, 22g ash, 5.9g fibre, 4.5g fat; in all, providing 265 calories.

Calcium: 1500 mg
Phosphorus: 500 mg
Iron: 45.6 mg
Magnesium: 0 mg
Sodium: 0 mg
Potassium: 0 mg
Zinc: 0 mg;

A: 35 mg
Thiamine (B1): 1.5 mg
Riboflavin (B2): 5 mg
Niacin: 5 mg
B6: 0 mg
C: 60 mg


This plant is considered an invasive species in many parts of the world, where it is found mostly in disturbed areas.[3][4] It spreads by seed which is carried by wind or water, and can often be controlled by mowing as it does not regrow from root fragments.[4] This is one of the species used in Chinese cuisine as kŭcài (; lit. bitter vegetable).[5]

Botanical characteristics

The flowers are hermaphrodite, and common pollinators include bees or flies.[4] Prefers full sun, but can tolerate most soil conditions.

Medicinal value

Sonchus oleraceus has a variety of medicinal uses.[5] Parts of the plant have been used variously to stimulate menstrual flow, alter liver function, stimulate fluid elimination, stall defecation, and to combat cancer, warts, inflammation and fever.


Attempts at weed control by herbicidal use, to the neglect of other methods, may have led to a proliferation of this species in some environments.[6]


  1. ^ Sonchus oleraceus at USDA PLANTS Database
  2. ^ Sonchus oleraceus at Plants For A Future
  3. ^ Sonchus oleraceus at Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants
  4. ^ a b Sonchus oleraceus L., Asteraceae, Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)
  5. ^ "Kucai Baidu Encyclopedia (苦菜_百度百科) (Mandarin language)". Retrieved 2008-02-07. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sonchus oleraceus —   Cerraja …   Wikipedia Español

  • Sonchus oleraceus — Sonchus oleraceus …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sonchus oleraceus — Gemüse Gänsedistel Gemüse Gänsedistel (Sonchus oleraceus) Systematik Unterklasse: Asternähnliche (Asteridae) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sonchus oleraceus — ? Сложноцветные Осот Научная классификация Царство: Растения Отдел …   Википедия

  • Sonchus oleraceus — daržinė pienė statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Astrinių šeimos vaistinis augalas (Sonchus oleraceus), paplitęs šiaurės Afrikoje, Europoje ir Azijoje. atitikmenys: lot. Sonchus oleraceus angl. annual sow thistle; common sow thistle; hare s… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • Sonchus oleraceus — Sow Sow, n. [OE. sowe, suwe, AS. sugu, akin to s[=u], D. zog, zeug, OHG. s[=u], G. sau, Icel. s[=y]r, Dan. so, Sw. sugga, so, L. sus. Gr. y^s, sy^s, Zend. hu boar; probably from the root seen in Skr. s[=u] to beget, to bear; the animal being… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Sonchus oleraceus — Thistle This tle, n. [OE. thistil, AS. [thorn]istel; akin to D. & G. distel, OHG. distila, distil, Icel. [thorn]istill, Sw. tistel, Dan. tidsel; of uncertain origin.] (Bot.) Any one of several prickly composite plants, especially those of the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Sonchus oleraceus — ID 79463 Symbol Key SOOL Common Name common sowthistle Family Asteraceae Category Dicot Division Magnoliophyta US Nativity Introduced to U.S. US/NA Plant Yes State Distribution AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS,… …   USDA Plant Characteristics

  • Sonchus oleraceus L. — однол.; VII–VIII Сем. Asteraceae (Compositae) – Сложноцветные 277. Род Sonchus L. – Осот 530. Осот огородный Сорное на огородах и мусорных местах близ жилья. Редко. Найден в кв. 81 и 95 …   Флора Центрально-лесного государственного заповедника

  • Sonchus oleraceus L. — Symbol SOOL Common Name common sowthistle Botanical Family Asteraceae …   Scientific plant list

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