Field Sow-thistle

Field Sow-thistle
Field Sow-thistle. Sonchus arvensis.
Asteraceae, the daisy, sunflower or composite family.

Plant: Smooth, hollow stems, occasionally branched, rising 1'-4', with barely prickly leaves, topped with loose clusters of dandelion-like flower heads. Plant exudes milky juice when injured. Perennial.
Flowers: Yellow heads of all ray flowers, 1"-1.5", involucral bracts and stems with sticky glandular hairs, in loose terminal cluster (cyme).
Leaves: Alternate, narrowly ovate to lanceolate, with soft marginal prickles, base clasping the stem. Lower leaves often toothed or lobed.
Fruit: Dry, seed-like with silky hairs.
Blooming: June-October
Habitat: Fields, roadsides.

Comments: One of several introduced sow thistles native to Europe. The sticky hairs on the flower bracts and stems are distinctive for this species. The leaves can be boiled and eaten as a potherb.

Where to find it: Scattered around the pond, and other low open areas of the park.