West Highland Flora

Prickly Sow-thistle


Sonchus asper

 

Sonchus asper

Photo Carl Farmer
13 Sep 2002 Dunvegan, Skye

Common on roadsides and waste ground

Flowerhead diameter c 2.5 cm (flowers in pic on left are not open)

ID: Leaves glossy above, not greyish-green; looking like thistle leaves.  All flowerheads under 30 mm across.

Other features: Some specimens hard to tell from Smooth Sow-thistle, but the two species are very distinct when you have typical specimens, the latter having grey-green leaves with strikingly large triangular terminal lobes, not looking much like thistle leaves.  If plant has involucre covered with yellow sticky hairs, it may be a stunted plant of Perennial Sow-thistle, which is normally much larger.  Can separate for sure by achenes which have 3 ribs on each side in Prickly and Smooth but 5 in Perennial.  Leaves clasp stem with large rounded spiny auricles.

 

Sonchus asper

Photo Carl Farmer
14 Oct 2003 Portree, Skye
Auricle c 3.2 cm vertically including spines

  Sonchus asper

Photo Carl Farmer
14 Oct 2003 Portree, Skye

 

Sonchus asper

Photo Carl Farmer
14 Oct 2003 Portree, Skye
RH head c 19 mm from involucre-base to flowerhead-tip

  Sonchus asper

Photo Carl Farmer
14 Oct 2003 Portree, Skye


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