by Stephen Mifsud
   24 Jun 2024      ()
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Sonchus tenerrimus   (Mediterranean Sow Thistle)

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

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Profile Date Dec-2007 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Sonchus tenerrimus - datasheet created on Dec-2007. Retrieved from on 24-Jun-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Sonchus tenerrimusL.
Published in Sp. Pl. : 794 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Sonchus tenerrimus var. perennis DC.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

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

English name(s) :

Mediterranean Sow Thistle, Slender Sow Thistle

Maltese name(s) :

Tfief fin

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 ( annual plants, herbaceous )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

October – July

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Sonchus: A very old Greek name used for several sow-thistle plants. (Greek origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Cultivated ground and waste places especially in damp areas.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Common in various habitats, somewhat prefering artificial habitats such as disturbed ground, steppe, footpaths and roadsides, abandoned gardens and fields, walls (including rubble walls) farmhouses, polluted ares, irrigated fields, etc
Botanical Description: Annual, biennial or perennial; stem 10-80 cm, branched (except in some annual variants). Leaves with subobtuse to acuminate auricles, the lower glabrous, with few lobes, the upper larger, often white-tomentose when young, pinnatisect with many ovate to linear-lanceolate lobes strongly constricted at the base and entire or denticulate, or rarely with linear lobes. Base of capitula and upper part of peduncles white-tomentose, often glandular-hairy. Involucral bracts 25-30. Ligules longer than corolla-tube. Achenes 2.5-3.3 x 0.5-1.2 mm, narrowly oblanceolate, tuberculate or rugose between the ribs; pappus 6-8 mm, more or less persistent.
Chromosome number: 2n=14
Distributional range: S. Europe

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
the Azores, the Balaeric Islands, Corse, Doubtful in Crete, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Doubtful in Romania, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Doubtful in Turkey (European part)
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
AE(G) Ag Bl(I M N) dCa(C F G H L T) Co Cr Ct Cy Eg Ga(F M) Gr Hs(G S) Ir It Jo Le Li Lu Ma ?Rm Sa Si(M S) Sy Tn Tu(A) ?Tu(E) [Az(C F G J L M P S T) aGe He nMd(M) Md(P) Sg]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (6 images)
   Sonchus tenerrimus   -   Image Code: SNCTE-0.
   Sonchus tenerrimus   -   Image Code: SNCTE-1.
   Sonchus tenerrimus   -   Image Code: SNCTE-2.
   Sonchus tenerrimus   -   Image Code: SNCTE-3.
   Sonchus tenerrimus   -   Image Code: SNCTE-4.
   Sonchus tenerrimus   -   Image Code: SNCTE-5.

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