Global invasive species database

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Common name
common sow-thistle (English), thalaak (English), sow thistle (English), laiteron potager (French), common sowthistle (English), leita ruga (Portuguese), pualele (English), soft thistle (English), annual sowthistle (English), colewort (English), sow-thistle (English), serralha branca (Portuguese), smooth sow thistle (English), serralha macia (Portuguese), laiteron commun (French), lastron (French), common Milk Sow-thistle (English), hare's lettuce (English), hare's colewort (English), swinies (English), milk thistle (English), milky tassel (English), laiteron maraîcher (French)
Synonym
Similar species
Sonchus asper
Summary
Sonchus oleraceus is an annual herb native to Eurasia and northern Africa. It has been introduced to a wide range of countries around the world. It is a common weed in disturbed areas and is a major problem in agricultural systems mainly due to its role in harbouring diseases and pests. It produces large numbers of seeds that are dispersed by wind.
Species Description
Sonchus oleraceus is a dicotyledonous winter annual plant in the family Asteraceae. It has a rosette morphology that produces all its leaves, followed by a terminal flowering bud. It has two types of mature leaves: rosette leaves grow in circles from a common centre close to the ground; cauline leaves grow on the upper part of the stem (Holm et al., 1977 in Cici et al., 2009). Leaves are thin and soft, measuring up to 35cm long and 12cm wide. Leaves are lanceolate to oblanceolate in shape, hairless and dark green in colour with pale white to purple veins (Pethybridge, 2005; Department of Primary Industries, 2010). Stems are five angled and hollow and dark-green in colour (sometimes have a reddish-purple tinge), and emit a milky sap when cut (Virginia Tech, Undated). Plants can grow to 1m or greater in height (Cici et al., 2009).\r\n\r\n

Flowers are inflorescences (capitula), and are yellow and 5-6mm in diameter. Capitula are borne on stalks at the end of branches. Flowers open from 6am to 11am. The fruit is an achene that is 2.5-4mm long and 1mm wide, compressed and obovoid in shape (Pethybridge, 2005). Achenes have 3-5 ribs and are rugose in texture. Mature seeds have a white feathery pappus (5-8mm long), that collectively form a white puff ball similar to dandelion (Virginia Tech, Undated). A single plant can produce over 8,000 seeds (Chauhan et al., 2005) that are wind dispersed.

Lifecycle Stages
Sonchus oleraceus produces prolific seeds, up to 8,000 per plant (Chauhan et al., 2006) which are capable of germinating all year round, particularly after rainfall (CSIRO, 2007). Field tests in Australia showed that S. oleraceus seeds can maintain viability for 8 months or more if they remain in the top 2cm of soil, while seeds buried deeper can remain viable for 30 months or more (Chauhan et al., 2006). S. oleraceus germinates from February to June in California. Seeds that germinate in Autumn overwinter in a vegetative phase as rosettes (Hutchinson et al., 1984).
Uses
Sonchus oleraceus may have been used as a food source in the Mediterranean (Leonti et al. 2006). It is also eaten in Africa, both cooked and raw. It is also used to treat a wide variety of infections, diseases and other medicinal uses. A few examples include use as a sedative, a diuretic and to treat salmonella infection, anaemia, wars, eye problems, liver infections, and as a cure for opium addiction (Grubben & Denton, 2004).\r\n\r\n

Other uses include food for poultry, rabbits and fodder for cattle (Grubben & Denton, 2004). It has potential to be used as a trap crop for control of insect populations (Grubben & Denton, 2004).

Habitat Description
Sonchus oleraceus can grow on most soil types. It prefers disturbed areas such as fields, pastures, gardens, roadsides, edges of yards, construction sites, waste areas (Pethybridge, 2005), farmland and recently burned fields (Grubben & Denton, 2004). It grows at altitudes of up to 2650m (Grubben & Denton, 2004). On Inaccessible Island S. oleraceus is recorded to occur on footpaths, landslides, depressions left by shifting boulders, old settlements/cultivations and rivers (Dean et al., 1994).
Reproduction
Sonchus oleraceus reproduces only by seed. The seeds (achenes) are primarily wind dispersed, although have been found attached to clothing (Ridley, 1930 in Guertin, 2003) and in feathers and fur of birds and animals (Zollinger & Parker, 1999 in Guertin, 2003). The height of the plant affects potential dispersal distance (Hutchinson et al., 1984). Sonchus spp. seeds may also be dispersed by animals being passed through the digestive tract. Flowers are insect pollinated by solitary bees and fly species (Lewin, 1948 in Hutchison et al., 1984). Flowers are also self compatible and seeds are produced through self pollination and fertilization (Hutchinson et al., 1984).
Nutrition
Seed germination experiments carried out in Australia found that Sonchus oleraceus germination can occur over a broad range of temperatures (Chauhan et al., 2006; Widderick et al., 2010). Seed germination was highest in conditions with light, but some germination occurred in dark as well. While low-level salinity was favoured by seeds, some seeds germinated at high salt concentrations. Germination was inhibited at high osmotic stress levels. This suggests that S. oleraceus has some capacity to germinate under conditions of water stress. The pH range for germination was broad, with 90% germination occurring between pH 5 to 8. Germination declined to 77% or greater at pH 8 to 10 (Chauhan et al., 2006). Seedling emergence was greatest in seeds placed on the soil surface; no seedlings emerged from seeds placed at 5cm (Chauhan et al., 2006) or below 2cm (Widderick et al., 2010).
Pathway

Principal source:

Compiler: IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from the EU-funded South Atlantic Invasive Species project, coordinated by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
Updates with support from the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme (OTEP) project XOT603, a joint project with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment

Review:

Publication date: 2010-07-23

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2016) Species profile: Sonchus oleraceus. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1451 on 10-12-2016.

General Impacts
Annual sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus) is a major problem as invaders of many crops, particularly of open vegetable fields. It is particularly problematic in winter crops and in tillage systems throughout southern Australia, South-East Queensland and Northern New South Wales. It uses valuable stored soil moisture during fallow periods, which reduces the yield of future crops (Widderick et al., 1999 in Widderick et al., 2010).\r\n\r\n

S. oleraceus is also an important alternative host of pests and diseases of crops (CSIRO, 2007). It is a known host of a wide range of viral diseases including watermelon mosaic virus (WMV), pepino mosaic virus (PepMV), tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) and alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV). It is the host for the economically significant castor whitefly (Trialeurodes ricini), Bemisia whiteflies, cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera and the nematode Radopholus similis (Grubben & Denton, 2004). It is also likely to be an important host for downy mildew (Bremia lactucae), one of the worst diseases of lettuce which is an important vegetable crop worldwide (Vieira & Barreto, 2006).

Management Info
Physical Control: Small or isolated populations of Sonchus oleraceus may be manually removed while plants are young, prior to seed set. The taproot must be removed, as resprouting can occur if left in the soil (Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, 2000 in Guertin, 2003). Slashing is often ineffective as flowers continue to be produced (FloraBase, 2010). Minimal tillage of crops is recommended as this will maintain most of the seed bank close to the soil surface, which favours seed germination, enhances emergence and promotes seed decay and predation. If the seedlings are controlled effectively for a 6-12 month period, this type of control should greatly reduce the seed bank (Widderick et al., 2010). Mulching and soil sterilisation methods can complement other management efforts (Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, 2000 in Guertin, 2003).\r\n

Grazing: Grazing of Sonchus spp. by cattle and sheep effectively suppresses infestations in pastures, and weakens plants allowing other control methods to be more effectively used (Zollinger & Parker, 1999 in Guertin, 2003). They also make excellent feed for livestock.\r\n

Chemical Control: For control of Sonchus spp. (asper and oleraceus), a pre-emergent herbicide containing isoxaben can be used, herbicidal soaps when the plants are young, or glyphosate when plants are mature. Zollinger and Parker (1999 in Guertin, 2003) recommend 2,4-D, clopyralid, dicamba, glyphosate, and picloram for control of Sonchus spp., while Rice (1992 in Guertin, 2003) 2,4-D, DCPA, diethatyl-ethyl, MCPA, amitrole, atrazine, bromoxynil, chlorsulfuron, dicamba, dichlorprop & 2,4-D, diuron, glyphosate, isoxaben (Snapshot), norflurazon, oryzalin, oxyfluorfen, paraquat, Ornamental Herbicide II, napropamide, simazine and tebuthiuron.\r\n

Sonchus oleraceus has developed resistance to chlorsulfuron in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales (Adkins et al. 1997 in Chauhan et al. 2006) atrazine (CSIRO, 2007), and all lettuce (Lactuca sativa) herbicides (University of California Riverside, Undated in Guertin, 2003). A recent study carried out in California also found methyl bromide and alternative fumigants to be ineffective against S. oleraceus (Shrestha et al., 2009). Apparently spot spraying of Lontrel® 10ml/10L with a wetting agent can be used to control the plant, preferably at the rosette stage (FloraBase, 2010).\r\n

Biological Control: Biological agents are currently being researched as a possibility for managing S. oleraceus and other Sonchus species in Australia (CSIRO, 2007). Sonchus species have previously been the target of biological control in Canada (Peschekn, 1984 in CSIRO, 2007). Preliminary surveys for biological control agents have been made in southern France and northern Europe (Scott & Jourdan, 2005; Peschken, 1984). Currently the rust fungus Miyagia pseudosphaeria and an unidentified eriophyid mite species are two widespread organisms in Australia with potential for control. The CSIRO project will focus on determining the impact of these potential control agents on related native Australian species ( Sonchus hydrophilus and Actites megalocarp and on weedy S. oleraceus and S. asper (CSIRO, 2007).

Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Sonchus oleraceus
Informations on Sonchus oleraceus has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
Lorem Ipsum
Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Sonchus oleraceus in information
Status
Invasiveness
Arrival date
Occurrence
Source
Introduction
Species notes for this location
Location note
Management notes for this location
Impact
Mechanism:
Outcome:
Ecosystem services:
Impact information
Annual sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus) is a major problem as invaders of many crops, particularly of open vegetable fields. It is particularly problematic in winter crops and in tillage systems throughout southern Australia, South-East Queensland and Northern New South Wales. It uses valuable stored soil moisture during fallow periods, which reduces the yield of future crops (Widderick et al., 1999 in Widderick et al., 2010).\r\n\r\n

S. oleraceus is also an important alternative host of pests and diseases of crops (CSIRO, 2007). It is a known host of a wide range of viral diseases including watermelon mosaic virus (WMV), pepino mosaic virus (PepMV), tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) and alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV). It is the host for the economically significant castor whitefly (Trialeurodes ricini), Bemisia whiteflies, cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera and the nematode Radopholus similis (Grubben & Denton, 2004). It is also likely to be an important host for downy mildew (Bremia lactucae), one of the worst diseases of lettuce which is an important vegetable crop worldwide (Vieira & Barreto, 2006).

Red List assessed species 0:
Locations
AUSTRALIA
BRAZIL
Mechanism
[2] Disease transmission
Outcomes
[2] Socio-Economic
  • [2] Damage to agriculture
Management information
Physical Control: Small or isolated populations of Sonchus oleraceus may be manually removed while plants are young, prior to seed set. The taproot must be removed, as resprouting can occur if left in the soil (Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, 2000 in Guertin, 2003). Slashing is often ineffective as flowers continue to be produced (FloraBase, 2010). Minimal tillage of crops is recommended as this will maintain most of the seed bank close to the soil surface, which favours seed germination, enhances emergence and promotes seed decay and predation. If the seedlings are controlled effectively for a 6-12 month period, this type of control should greatly reduce the seed bank (Widderick et al., 2010). Mulching and soil sterilisation methods can complement other management efforts (Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, 2000 in Guertin, 2003).\r\n

Grazing: Grazing of Sonchus spp. by cattle and sheep effectively suppresses infestations in pastures, and weakens plants allowing other control methods to be more effectively used (Zollinger & Parker, 1999 in Guertin, 2003). They also make excellent feed for livestock.\r\n

Chemical Control: For control of Sonchus spp. (asper and oleraceus), a pre-emergent herbicide containing isoxaben can be used, herbicidal soaps when the plants are young, or glyphosate when plants are mature. Zollinger and Parker (1999 in Guertin, 2003) recommend 2,4-D, clopyralid, dicamba, glyphosate, and picloram for control of Sonchus spp., while Rice (1992 in Guertin, 2003) 2,4-D, DCPA, diethatyl-ethyl, MCPA, amitrole, atrazine, bromoxynil, chlorsulfuron, dicamba, dichlorprop & 2,4-D, diuron, glyphosate, isoxaben (Snapshot), norflurazon, oryzalin, oxyfluorfen, paraquat, Ornamental Herbicide II, napropamide, simazine and tebuthiuron.\r\n

Sonchus oleraceus has developed resistance to chlorsulfuron in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales (Adkins et al. 1997 in Chauhan et al. 2006) atrazine (CSIRO, 2007), and all lettuce (Lactuca sativa) herbicides (University of California Riverside, Undated in Guertin, 2003). A recent study carried out in California also found methyl bromide and alternative fumigants to be ineffective against S. oleraceus (Shrestha et al., 2009). Apparently spot spraying of Lontrel® 10ml/10L with a wetting agent can be used to control the plant, preferably at the rosette stage (FloraBase, 2010).\r\n

Biological Control: Biological agents are currently being researched as a possibility for managing S. oleraceus and other Sonchus species in Australia (CSIRO, 2007). Sonchus species have previously been the target of biological control in Canada (Peschekn, 1984 in CSIRO, 2007). Preliminary surveys for biological control agents have been made in southern France and northern Europe (Scott & Jourdan, 2005; Peschken, 1984). Currently the rust fungus Miyagia pseudosphaeria and an unidentified eriophyid mite species are two widespread organisms in Australia with potential for control. The CSIRO project will focus on determining the impact of these potential control agents on related native Australian species ( Sonchus hydrophilus and Actites megalocarp and on weedy S. oleraceus and S. asper (CSIRO, 2007).

Locations
AUSTRALIA
FALKLAND ISLANDS (MALVINAS)
SAINT HELENA
Management Category
Control
None
Unknown
Bibliography
13 references found for Sonchus oleraceus

Managment information
Guertin, P. 2003. USGS Weeds in the West project: Status of Introduced Plants in Southern Arizona Parks Factsheet for: Sonchus L. spp.
Summary: Available from: http://sdrsnet.srnr.arizona.edu/data/sdrs/ww/docs/sonc_spp.pdf [Accessed 30 July, 2010]
IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)., 2010. A Compilation of Information Sources for Conservation Managers.
Summary: This compilation of information sources can be sorted on keywords for example: Baits & Lures, Non Target Species, Eradication, Monitoring, Risk Assessment, Weeds, Herbicides etc. This compilation is at present in Excel format, this will be web-enabled as a searchable database shortly. This version of the database has been developed by the IUCN SSC ISSG as part of an Overseas Territories Environmental Programme funded project XOT603 in partnership with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment. The compilation is a work under progress, the ISSG will manage, maintain and enhance the database with current and newly published information, reports, journal articles etc.
Varnham, K. 2006. Non-native species in UK Overseas Territories: a review. JNCC Report 372. Peterborough: United Kingdom.
Summary: This database compiles information on alien species from British Overseas Territories.
Available from: http://www.jncc.gov.uk/page-3660 [Accessed 10 November 2009]
General information
CSIRO. 2007. Management and control of sowthistles in Australia. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.
Summary: Available from: http://www.csiro.au/science/SowthistleControl.html [Accessed 23 July, 2010]
Cuevas, Jaime G., Alicia Marticorena & Lohengrin A. Cavieres. 2004. New additions to the introduced flora of the Juan Fern�ndez Islands: origin, distribution, life history traits, and potential of invasion. Revista Chileana de Historia Natural 77: 523-538.
Dean, W. R. J. , S. J. Milton., P. G. Ryan and C. L. Moloney., 1994. The role of disturbance in the establishment of indigenous and alien plants at Inaccessible and Nightingale Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean. Vegetatio 113: 13-23, 1994.
Duffey, Eric. 1964. The terrestrial ecology of Ascention Island, The Journel of Applied Ecology 1 (2)
Summary: Available from: http://www.seaturtle.org/PDF/Duffey_1964_JAppEcol.pdf [Accessed 25 October 2009]
Frenot, Y., Gloaguen, J., Mass�, L., & Lebouvier, M. 2001. Human activities, ecosystem disturbance and plant invasions in subantarctic Crozet, Kerguelen and Amsterdam Islands. Biological Conservation, 101, 33-50.
Summary: Cette article propose une liste des plantes exotiques pour 3 des �les subantarctiques fran�aises. Le r�le pass� et pr�sent des activit�s humaines dans les ph�nom�nes d invasions est discut�.
ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System), 2008. Online Database Sonchus oleraceus L.
Summary: An online database that provides taxonomic information, common names, synonyms and geographical jurisdiction of a species. In addition links are provided to retrieve biological records and collection information from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Data Portal and bioscience articles from BioOne journals.
Available from: http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=38427 [Accessed 10 November 2008]
Meurk, C.D. 1982. Supplementary notes on plant distributions of the subantarctic Auckland Islands. New Zealand Journal of Botany 20: 373-380
United States Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS). 2009. Sonchus oleraceus L. common sowthistle
Summary: Available from: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=SOOL [Accessed 14 August 2008]
Widderick, M.J., Walker, S.R., Sindel, B.M. & Bell, K.L. 2010. Germination, emergence, and persistence of Sonchus oleraceus, a major crop weed in subtropical Australia. Weed Biology and Management, 10: 102-112.
Wilken, D. & Hannah, L. 1998. Sonchus asper (L.) Hill (Asteraceae), Prickly sow thistle, Spiny mild thistle. Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, for Channel Islands National Park.
Summary: Available from: http://usgssrv1.usgs.nau.edu/swepic/factsheets/Sonchus_oleraceus.pdf [Accessed 28 July, 2010]
Contact
The following 0 contacts offer information an advice on Sonchus oleraceus