The main difference between the two is that the annual sow thistle has much smaller flowers (less than 2.5 cm across) than the perennial sow thistle. Similarly, dandelion may not be a good substitute for raw sow thistle leaves if you need a green that is as mild as sow thistle. Identification difficulty. Perennial Sow-thistle (Sonchus arvensis) Provincial Designation: Noxious Identification: Stems: Stems are upright, leafy at the base, branched in the tops and grow up to 2m tall. Perennial sowthistle can form dense monocultures by the spread of its rhizome-like roots. Leaves: Leaves are alternate and waxy, with weakly prickled edges and … Common Name. ID Characteristics. Description. It prefers slightly alkaline or neutral soils, fine-textured, rich soils. Leaves: Leaves are alternate and waxy, with weakly prickled edges and … Leaves are alternate and waxy, with prickled edges and variable shape. Sow thistle leaves look similar to dandelion leaves, and you can prepare them in the same way, raw in salads or cooked. Perennial sowthistle, a class - B noxious weed in Lincoln County, Washington (Sonchus arvensis. Perennial Sow-thistle (Sonchus arvensis) Provincial Designation: Noxious Identification: Stems: Stems are upright, leafy at the base, branched in the tops and grow up to 2m tall. The leaf shape resembles dandelion or chicory but has spines along the margin of the leaf. It is an aggressive agricultural weed that reduces crop yields. (30.5 cm) long and decrease in size further up the stem, margins undulate with sharp spines. Lemna, W. K. and Messersmith, C. G. 1990. Perennial sow-thistle is a perennial weed reproducing by seed and by buds on underground roots. All three species have yellow flowers with a diameter of 20 – 25 mm in smooth and prickly sow-thistle, but 40 – 50 mm in perennial sow-thistle. Leaves of both species are distinctly spiny. Cultivated fields, pastures, meadows, lawns, gardens, fences, shores, ditches, thickets, forests, roadsides and disturbed areas (Lemna and Messersmith 1990Footnote 4, Darbyshire 2003Footnote 5). Perennial sow thistle (Sonchus arvensis) Annual sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) Perennial sow thistle has weak marginal prickles on leaves and rounded lobes *Tap root found on annual sow thistle only, also has smaller flowers than perennial sow thistle. The perennial sowthistle in northeastern North America. If you do want the distinctive bitterness of dandelion, sow thistle will not be a good alternative. Worldwide: Native to Europe and temperate Asia, as far as the Russian Far East. Perennial Sow Thistle (Sonchus arvensis) Roots: Extensive, may penetrate soil five to ten feet deep, new plants produced by small root pieces. Perennial sow-thistle plant. Perennial sowthistle (Sonchus arvensis)Author: Tim Prather, University of Idaho, Department of Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences Adapted from: Idaho Weed Resource webpage on perennial sowthistle. Habitat. North American Plant Atlas. Figure 1. A single plant may produce 3000-9750 seeds (Lemna and Messersmith 1990Footnote 4), which can remain viable in the soil for several years (CABI 2016Footnote 6). Leaves: Deeply lobed to nearly entire, clasping base, mildly prickly margins but lack spines on the lower midrib. Sow thistle is a perennial weed that can grow in a wide variety of environmental conditions and is currently found in all Canadian provinces except Nunavut. perennial : Yellow flowers ; Sonchus arvense : Perennial sow-thistle ; Nonnative, noxious : Bright yellow flowers occur at end of branched stems; hairs on bracts and flower stalks : Clasping base; prickly margins more or less toothed; coarsely pinnate-lobed : Erect, smooth, leafy : 1.S ­ S feet : Perennial Habitat: Perennial sow-thistle occurs throughout Ontario in cultivated fields, pastures, meadows, woodland, waste places, roadsides, gardens and occasionally in lawns. 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