Sow-Thistle, or Sonchus, L. a genus of plants forming 13 species, four of which are indigenous : the principal are the following:
1. The oleraceus, or Common Sow-thistle, grows on cultivated ground, dunghills, and in hedges ; its yellow flowers appear from June till August. - The leaves of this troublesome weed are the favourite food of hares and rabbits ; they are likewise dressed and eaten among other culinary herbs. The roots have occasionally been converted into bread. - Sheep, goats, and swine, devour this ve-getable, but it is not relished by horses.
2. The arvensis, Corn or Tree Sow-Thistle, is perennial, thrives in clayey corn-fields, and on ditch-banks, where it blows in August. - It is remarkable, that the flowers of this plant follow, in a regular manner, the course of the sun. - Cows and goats eat this species, of which horses are exceedingly fond. - .
Bechstein remarks, that the young shoots of the Corn Sow-thistle, when cut out in the spring, and mixed with bran, afford an excellent food for cattle and swine.
3. The palustris, or Marsh Sow-ThistLe, grows in watery places, and on the banks of rivers, where it attains the height of from six to ten feet; flowering in July and August. - While young, this plant furnishes nourishing food for cattle : hence it deserves to be cultivated in swampy meadows. - Its flowers, like those of all the thistles, are visited by bees.