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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Sonchus, but Which One?

Here's a botanical mystery I'm not going to solve today.

Saw this plant growing between rocks on the shore of Lake Cadillac. Everything about it screams "sow thistle," aka, one of the plants in the genus Sonchus.

sow thistle

Dandelion-like blossoms. prickly leaves that clasp the stems. But I took its picture because those blossoms are much larger than what I would have expected. Sow thistles are pretty common plants, but the flowers aren't usually that showy.

sow thistle

And, since I thought those flowers would be distinctive, I didn't take careful pictures of how the stems attach to the leaves. Here's the best picture I have of that. That was an important picture to get. O well.

sow thistle

I also think the white color on the underside of the flower is unique, but can't find anything about that either.

sow thistle

sow thistle

Sonchus arvensis has hairy bracts like this one, but the way the leaves clasp (the few I can see in the pictures) makes me think S. oleraceous. I can't find pictures of any with such soft, wispy flower heads.

More work needed!

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