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Genus Sonchus Family Asteraceae

Description: Annual to perennial herbs with taproot or roots creeping.

Leaves basal and cauline, alternate, pinnatifid or toothed, cauline leaves stem-clasping.

Heads several, in a loosely branched inflorescence, cylindrical becoming conical; involucral bracts 3-seriate, unequal, inner longer and more membranous, reflexed in fruit; receptacle flat, naked or with small scales or fine hairs, pitted. Florets all ligulate, bisexual, fertile; corolla yellow, tube pubescent above. Anthers sagittate at base, orange, apical appendage triangular and dark. Style branches linear, terete, papillose.

Achenes ± flattened, 3–5 ribs on each face, winged or not, beak absent; pappus in many rows, of free barbellate bristles and persistent cottony hairs.


Distribution and occurrence: World: 55 species, cosmopolitan. Australia: 5 species (4 species naturalized), all States.

Text by L. Murray
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Leaves stiff and more or less leathery; achenes with ribs and scabrous on the margins, otherwise smooth2
Leaves soft, thin; achenes wrinkled throughoutSonchus oleraceus
2Leaves with margins spinose; basal leaves pinnatifidSonchus asper
Leaves with margins toothed; basal leaves sinuate-pinnatifid
                       Back to 1
Sonchus hydrophilus

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