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Annual sowthistle

By: Garden Gate staff
There are several different sowthistles, but annual sowthistle is one of the most common, especially in the Southeast and West.

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Annual sowthistle Sanchus oleraceus

IDENTIFICATION – There are several different sowthistles, but annual sowthistle is one of the most common, especially in the Southeast and West. It grows long, notched leaves, a tap root and yellow flowers.

Plants can grow 2 to 5 ft. tall with seeds carried on feathery hairs, much like a dandelion’s. And sowthistles do have prickles, but they’re not as wicked as those on some of their more vicious thistle cousins.

FAVORITE CONDITIONS – Sowthistles aren’t picky about soil. They’ll grow almost anywhere in full sun. The seeds sprout in cool soil in early spring or even winter in mild climates.

CONTROL – Hoe young plants just below the soil level or pull them (while wearing gloves) when the soil is moist. Try not to let them go to seed because the seeds are long-lived — they can survive in the soil for several years and still germinate.

Published: March 4, 2008
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