by Stephen Mifsud
   31 May 2020      ()
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Sonchus asper   (Prickly Sow Thistle)

Sonchus asper  (ASTERACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands at or after year 2000.

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Profile Date Oct-2010 (last update: 12-Jan-2019)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (Oct-2010) Sonchus asper retrieved from on 2020-May-31

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Sonchus asper(L.) Hill
Published in Herb. Brit. 1: 47 (1769).

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Sonchus oleraceus var. asper
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life ]

Plant Family :

Asteraceae Bercht. & J.Presl (=Compositae) (The Daisy or Sunflower Family)
125 species from the Asteraceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Prickly Sow Thistle, Spiny Sow Thistle, Spiny-leaved Sow Thistle

Maltese name(s) :

Tfief ċar, Xewk bagħli

Status for Malta :

Indigenous. Present on the Maltese islands before man

Frequency :

Very Common     Common     Frequent     Scarce     Rare     Very rare     Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: THEROPHYTE (annuals)
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection [link]:

Not Protected by Law (LN200/2011 or LN311/2006)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

All Year

Colour of Flowers:

Yellow or Green

Species Description and Distribution

Habitat in Europe:

Cultivated ground and waste places.

Preferred habitat in Malta:

Data will be available in the next update of this website.

Botanical Description:

Annual or biennial, glabrous, but base of capitula and upper part of stem and peduncles often glandular-hairy; stem 10-120(-200) cm, sometimes branched. Leaves glabrous, the lower spathulate, entire to pinnatifid, the upper entire to pinnatisect, with triangular-ovate to linear, dentate lobes and rounded, sometimes dentate auricles. Involucral bracts 35-45. Ligules shorter than corolla-tube. Achenes 2-3 x 1 mm, strongly compressed and more or less winged, elliptical to broadly oblanceolate, smooth between the ribs, the margins and ribs often with recurved spinules. Pappus 6-9 mm, more or less deciduous.

Distributional range:

Almost throughout Europe.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):

Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):

All Europe except Faroe Islands, Iceland, Svalbard archipelago

Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(Euro+Med Checklist, 2017) - Country codes

Ab(A N) AE(G T) Ag Al Ar Au(A L) Be(B L) BH Bl(I M N) Br Bu By dCa(C F G H L P T) Cg Co Cr Cs Ct Cy Da Eg Es Fe Ga(C F M) Ge Gg Gr Hb(E N) He Ho Hs(A G S) Hu Ir It Jo La Le Li Lt Lu Ma dMd(D M) Mk Mo No Po Rf(C CS E K N NW S) Rm Sa dSg Si(M S) Sk Sl Sn Sr Su Sy Tn Tu(A E) Uk(K U) [Ag Az(C F G J L M P S T) aIs]

Images (18 images)
   Sonchus asper   -   Image Code: SNCAS-0.
   Sonchus asper   -   Image Code: SNCAS-1.
   Sonchus asper   -   Image Code: SNCAS-2.
   Sonchus asper   -   Image Code: SNCAS-3.
   Sonchus asper   -   Image Code: SNCAS-4.
   Sonchus asper   -   Image Code: SNCAS-5.
   Sonchus asper   -   Image Code: SNCAS-6.
   Sonchus asper   -   Image Code: SNCAS-7.
   Sonchus asper   -   Image Code: SNCAS-8.
   Sonchus asper   -   Image Code: SNCAS-9.
   Sonchus asper   -   Image Code: SNCAS-10.
   Sonchus asper   -   Image Code: SNCAS-11.
   Sonchus asper   -   Image Code: SNCAS-12.
   Sonchus asper   -   Image Code: SNCAS-13.
   Sonchus asper   -   Image Code: SNCAS-14.
   Sonchus asper   -   Image Code: SNCAS-15.
   Sonchus asper   -   Image Code: SNCAS-16.
   Sonchus asper   -   Image Code: SNCAS-17.

Links & Further info

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Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



The Plant List


Vienna Virt. Hb.





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