Click on images to enlarge
habit in flower (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
habit in fruit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
basal rosette of lower leaves (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
stem leaves with prickly margins (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of stem and stem-clasping leaf base (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
flower-head and smaller upper leaves (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
flower buds and old flower-heads (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
mature flower-heads with numerous fluffy seeds (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of seeds topped with hairs (Photo: Steve Hurst at USDA PLANTS Database)
seedling (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
comparison of prickly sowthistle (Sonchus asper), on the left, and native sowthistle, (Sonchus hydrophilus), on the right (Photo: Jackie Miles and Max Campbell)
Sonchus asper (L.) Hill
Two subspecies are present in Australia:
Sonchus asper (L.) Hill subsp. asperSonchus asper (L.) Hill subsp. glaucescens (Jordan) Ball
Sonchus oleraceus L. var. asper L.
Asteraceae (Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory)Compositae (South Australia)
blue sow-thistle, prickly sow thistle, prickly sow-thistle, prickly sowthistle, rough sow thistle, rough sow-thistle, rough sowthistle, sowthistle, spiny sow thistle, spiny sowthistle, spiny-leaf sowthistle, spinyleaf sowthistle, spiny-leaved sow thistle
Thought to be native to Africa (i.e. Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Cameroon, Rwanda, Zaire, Senegal, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana), Madagascar, Europe, western and central Asia (i.e. Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Russia), China and the Indian Sub-continent (i.e. India, Nepal and Pakistan). However, the exact native range of this species is obscure.
Sonchus asper subsp. asper:
Widely naturalised in Australia (i.e. in southern and central Queensland, the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, in many parts of South Australia and in south-western, and in large parts of Western Australia).
Sonchus asper subsp. glaucescens:
Widely naturalised in Australia (i.e. in southern and central Queensland, throughout New South Wales and Victoria, and in Tasmania) Also naturalised on Lord Howe Island.
Prickly sowthistle (Sonchus asper) is also widely naturalised elsewhere in the world, including in North America (i.e. Canada and the USA), South America, New Zealand and on some Pacific islands (i.e. Hawaii and Tonga).
Prickly sowthistle (Sonchus asper) is regarded as an environmental weed in Victoria and Western Australia.