Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Prickly Sowthistle - Sonchus asper   (L.) Hill
Members of Asteraceae:
Members of Sonchus with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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Author(L.) Hill
DistributionFound throughout the state, perhaps in every county.

Native of Europe; in N.A. throughout.
AbundanceCommon in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont, fairly common in the Mountains, but uncommon in the Sandhills.
HabitatRoadsides, railroad margins, fields, pastures, meadows, clearings, disturbed areas, waste areas, campus weed.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting late March-July.
IdentificationGenerally speaking, sowthistles resemble yellow-flowered wild lettuces (genus Lactuca), but the heads are much broader. Prickly Sowthistle is a familiar weed across the state, and is indeed more prickly than other sowthistles; but the leaves are a better clue to identification. The sessile base of each leaf widens and curls as it meets the stem. The base is also essentially clasping. In our other 2 Sonchus species, the leaf base is clasping only and not curled.
Taxonomic Comments
Other Common Name(s)
State RankSE
Global RankGNR
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpFACU link
USACE-empFAC link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. SorrieRoadside, Carthage, May 2015. MoorePhoto_non_natural
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