Sonchus asper

Asteraceae

Plant of the day: Sow thistle (Sonchus asper or oleracea) are introduced annual herbaceous species in the Asteraceae. The leaves are basal and cauline, with the cauline leaves simple, alternate, and often clasping the stem. Like other plants in this subfamily, it has milky juice. The flowers are in heads, and the heads are in terminal corymbs. The flowers have five petals and five stamens, and the pappus consists of white capillary bristles. The heads are yellow ray flowers that are perfect. The ovary is inferior, and fruit is an achene. Common sow thistle (Sonchus oleracea) and spiny sow thistle (Sonchus asper) are widespread and often found in lawns, along roadsides, in and disturbed areas throughout the state. Oleracea has sagittate leaf bases and non-ribbed achenes, while asper has rounded leaf bases and a ribbed achene. Both flower from December to June. The plant is edible raw or cooked. It is impressive when you eat this plant in front of a group as the plant looks very viscous but is perfectly chewable without hurting you. Caterpillar of the butterfly Painted Lady and two moths ipsilion Dart (Agrotis ipsilon) and white-lined sphinx (Hyles lineata) are reported to eat members of the genus Sonchus. Caterpillars of the moth ipsilion Dart (Agrotis ipsilon) are reported to eat Sonchus asper and the Southern Armyworm Moth (Spodoptera eridania) to eat Sonchus oleracea. A few plants on Allen Acres.