Scientific Classifications explained    Amphibians
  » Amphibians
  » Ants

  » Aphids

  » Bees

  » Beetles

  » Birds

  » Bugs

  » Butterflies

  » Caterpillars

  » Damselflies

  » Dragonflies

  » Earwigs

  » Flies

  » Frog/Leafhoppers

  » Fungi

  » Galls

  » Grasshoppers

  » Harvestmen

  » Hoverflies

  » Lacewings

  » Ladybirds

  » Leaf Mines

  » Lichens

  » Mammals

  » Millipedes

  » Mosses

  » Moths

  » Sawflies

  » Slugs

  » Snails

  » Spiders

  » Trees

  » Wasps

  » Wild Flowers

  » Woodlice

UK Nature  > Wild Flowers  > Yellow Wild Flowers  > Sonchus oleraceus

  • Close up of flower head
  • Plant showing flowers and leaves

Scientific Name:   Sonchus oleraceus
Common Name:   Smooth Sow-thistle

Sonchus oleraceus, more commonly known as Smooth Sow-thistle, is a native annual or overwintering weed common on arable land on most soils throughout the UK. It is also found on wasteland, roadsides and in gardens. Smooth sow-thistle is a pioneer species that colonises disturbed ground but it prefers nutrient rich soils.

It's a medium to tall greyish plant with upper leaves clasping the stem with triangular, pointed basal lobes. Flowerheads are pale yellow, 20 to 25 mm, borne in lax clusters. Smooth sow-thistle flowers mainly from June to August but flowering can start in April and continue until the first frosts. The flowers are self-fertile. Mature seeds are formed one week after flowering.
 is a website dedicated to showing the immense diversity of UK nature and wildlife. Our vast range of habitats, from lowland arable to snow covered mountains, from storm-ravaged coastlines to peaceful inland freshwater lakes and rivers, from dry, sandy heaths to deciduous and coniferous forests, all these habitats contribute to the abundance of UK nature. We have wild birds in huge numbers either residing or visiting our shores (597 recorded species as at July 2013) and we must also not forget the humble back garden with its grass lawns, flower beds filled with nectar rich flowers, shrubs and trees, all designed to attract huge numbers of insects such as bees, moths, butterflies and hoverflies; and finally the small ponds which provide safe havens for frogs, toads, newts and even slow worms and grass snakes. is the showcase for my personal passion, photographing uknature in all its glory. I sincerely hope you all enjoy the fruits of my labours.

This site and all images contained therein is © Jeremy Lee 2004 - 2021. All Rights Reserved. Site design by Jeremy Lee. Site development & IT Support by Stuart Lee.