Sonchus Linnaeus

Remark The words or terms in red (actually dark orange) in the text are defined in a glossary.

aug_08_06.gthmb can't be loaded. The genus Sonchus is in the tribe Lactuceae of the Asteraceae family. The genus includes annuals to shrubs; And all species have a milky sap.

The stems are erect, smooth and leafy.

The leaves are basal and cauline, alternate, from more or less entire to toothed and coarsely pinnately lobed, generally sessile, clasping the stem.

The inflorescences are in cymes. The flower heads are ligulate, the ligules yellow. The involucres are swollen at base, the phyllaries are generally in 3 series, outer many, short-triangular, those of inner 2 series linear, tapered; the receptacles are more or less flat.

The fruits have a pappus of many fine, white bristles.

There are over 50 Species in the genus, that grow in Eurasia and Africa. Sonchus species have been introduced from Europe in North America and are now widely established.


Many sources, copied from one another ? say that the genus name is from the Greek sonchos, the plant's initial name, and means hollow in reference to the stems. I checked in my Dictionnaire Grec Français by Anatole Bailly, also called Le Grand Bailly, one of the quite renowned dictionary of classical Greek, and I could not find one entry starting in σον (son) or σων (sôn), so...


The taxonomy of the species of Sonchus genus that can be found in Québec is: