Scientific Name:
Sonchus oleraceus L., Sp. Pl. 794 (1753)
Vernacular Name(s):
Common sow thistle; Pororua; Pūhā; Pūwhā; Rauriki; Sow thistle

Annual. Roots tap and fibrous. Stem erect, simple or branched, finely grooved or ribbed, glabrous, 50–120 cm tall. Lvs soft, dull to ± shiny, mid to dark green to glaucous above, pale to glaucous beneath, glabrous, ± oblanceolate to obovate; margins dentate with spinulose teeth. Rosette and lower stem lvs (4)–10–20 × (1.5)–4–10 cm, pinnatifid almost to midrib; lobes reflexed or recurved, ovate to narrowly triangular; petiole narrowly winged. Upper lvs pinnatifid, usually with broadly triangular terminal lobe, 1–3 pairs of narrowly triangular lateral lobes, a broadly expanded winged petiole, and an amplexicaul-auriculate base with pointed lobes, sometimes lf not lobed, ovate-amplexicaul, rarely pinnatisect with linear lobes. Infl. cymose to umbellate; capitula few to many. Involucre 10–15 mm long, turbinate to cylindric; bracts imbricate, reflexed at fruiting, usually glabrous or rarely with a few pale glandular or eglandular setae. Receptacle glabrous. Florets 11/2× length of involucre; corolla tube c. = ligule; ligules spreading, yellow. Achenes narrowly obovoid to clavate, brown, weakly flattened, 2.5–3 × 0.8–1 mm, 3-ribbed on each face, not winged; ribs and spaces between finely transversely wrinkled. Pappus fine, white, c. = involucre.

[From: Webb et al. (1988) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 4.]


Flowering: (Aug.)–Nov.–Jan.–(May); Fruiting: (Aug.)–Nov.–Jan.–(May)