Field milk thistle – Sonchus arvensis

Sonchus arvensis

Sonchus arvensis

Sonchus arvensis (field milk thistle) is a perennial, polycarpic weed that grows suckers and is part of the Asteracease family. It is commonly seen on crops, early herb and shrub crops. It reproduces using seeds and radicular buds. This is why it is so difficult to get rid of it.

Common names: sonchus arvensis, the field milk thistle, field sowthistle, perennial sow-thistle, corn sow thistle, dindle, gutweed, swine thistle, or tree sow thistle.


The stem is vertical, straight and simple, most of the times. It only has branches on its superior part. The height of the stem can be 150-cm.

Sonchus arvensis - plant

The cotyledons are round or oval-rounded. The margins of the cotyledons are straight. The cotyledons are laid on the soil and have short aerial stems.

Sonchus arvensis - cotyledon

The real leaves are oval-rounded, large and with lightly serrated margins. The following leaves are lanceolate and with a winged petiole. These set of leaves also have thorny and serrated margins, are cordiform and sessile.

The flower has a gold-yellow color, grouped in cymes. The involucre and aerial stems are covered in glandular hairs.

Sonchus arvensis - flower

Sonchus arvensis - flower 1

The blossoming period is the summer season and it can extend until autumn. The plant produces between 6000 to 20000 seeds.

How to fight this pest plant

The herbicides that are recommended when fighting the field milk thistle are: Buctril Universal, Dicopur Top, Galera, Goal 4F, Kelvin Top.

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