Sow Thistle
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Sow Thistle
aturalized Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Hare's-lettuce, Milk thistle, Sow thistle • Hindi: दूधी Dudhi • Kannada: ನಾಯಿಹಕ್ಕರಿಕೆ Naayi hakkarike • Manipuri: ꯈꯣꯝꯊꯣꯛꯄꯤ Khomthokpi • Nepali: दुधे काँडा Dudhe Kaandaa, छोटे झार Chhote Jhaar • Rajasthani: आकडिय‍ो Aakadio • Mizo: Khuanglawi-suak
Botanical name: Sonchus oleraceus      Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Sow Thistle is an erect annual herb, with basal leaves, branching above. Stems are hollow, mostly hairless, ooze milky sap when broken. Leaves are green, light or dark green, alternate. Basal leaves abd upper leaves are variable in plant, oblong, obovate, lanceshaped, often winged at base, spiny edges deeply lobed. Flowers are yellow, small, about 1.2-2.5 cm, on tips of flowering stalks. The flower-heads consist of strap-shaped florets. Flowers-heads are borne in open clusters. Fruit is an achene with white hairs on one end, seeds are wind dispersed. Sow Thistle is native to Europe to Mediterranean, Sahara to Arabian Peninsula. It is naturalized widely the world over, including India. It can be found in the Himalaya, at altitudes of 170-3200 m. Flowering: March-December.
Medicinal uses: Plant is useful in liver diseases. Leaves and roots are used in indegestion as febrifuge; stem is used as sedative, tonic; root extract is used in ointments for ulcers and wounds. Gum produced by evaporating latex is used for ascites and hydrothorax.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Delhi & Imphal, Manipur.

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