Sonchus arvensis

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaAsteraceaeSonchusSonchus arvensis


A creeping perennial herb of roadside verges, ditch and river banks, sea-walls and the upper parts of beaches and saltmarshes, particularly along strand lines; it is also frequent in arable fields, where it can be a weed, and on waste ground. It prefers disturbed, nutrient-enriched soils. 0-445 m (near Bishop`s Castle, Salop).



World Distribution

Eurosiberian Temperate element, but widely naturalised so that distribution is now Circumpolar Temperate.

Broad Habitats

Arable and horticultural (includes orchards, excludes domestic gardens)

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 6

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 6

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 1

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.8

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.8

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1013

Height (cm): 150

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Rhizome far-creeping

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2320

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 806

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 9

Atlas Change Index: -0.12

Weighted Changed Factor: 1

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


JNCC Designations


Atlas text references

Atlas (297d)
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Lemna WK, Messersmith CG
1990.  The biology of Canadian weeds. 94. Sonchus arvensis L. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 70:509-532.
Lousley JE
1968.  A glabrous perennial Sonchus in Britain. Proceedings of the Botanical Society of the British Isles. 7:151-157.
Meusel H, Jäger EJ
1992.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 3. 2 vols.