WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

Not a thistle but with prickly leaves, this introduced, weedy plant ranges from 1 to 6 feet tall under ideal conditions. Note the flower heads have only ray florets (ligules). The prickly leaves have rounded basal lobes that clasp the stem, and the sap is milky.


FLOWER: March–November. Loose arrays on branch tips have yellow flower heads 1/2–1 inch wide (12–25 mm) and densely packed with 80–250 ray flowers; each ray (ligule) is 1/8–1/4 inch long (3–6 mm); disk flowers absent. The distinctive buds resemble a vase with a fat bottom that narrows to a point.


LEAVES: Basal rosette and alternate on stem. Blades 2–6-inches long (5–7.5 cm), margins wavy, spiny, entire to deeply cut with lobes. The leaf base clasps and wraps around the stem with rounded lobes (not pointed, arrow-shaped lobes).


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly soils, lawns, roadsides, fields, disturbed sites; naturalized, weedy.


ELEVATION: Below 8,000 feet.


RANGE: Introduced, naturalized throughout the United States.


SIMILAR SPECIES: The leaves of the look-alike Sow Thistle, S. oleraceus, absent on the eastern plains, are weakly prickly and clasp the stem with pointed lobes, like the base of an arrowhead. Dandelion, Taraxcum officale, the widespread lawn weed, sprouts from a basal rosette of lobed but not spiny leaves.


NM COUNTIES: Nearly statewide (not reported in De Baca, Lea, Torrance cos.)

SPINY  SOW  THISTLE

SONCHUS ASPER

Aster Family, Asteraceae

Annual herb

THE CONTENTS OF THIS WEBSITE ARE COPYRIGHTED AND CANNOT BE USED

WITHOUT PERMISSION OF GEORGE OXFORD MILLER

The leaf base clasps and wraps around the stem with rounded lobes (left arrow).

Leaf margins (edges) are wavy, spiny, and entire to deeply cut with lobes (right arrow).

HOME          SCIENTIFIC NAME          FAMILY NAME           SEARCH YELLOW          SEARCH RED          SEARCH BLUE


SEARCH WHITE         SEARCH CACTI         SEARCH LEAFLESS         GLOSSARY

RETURN

Email Me