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Common (vernacular) names applied to California vascular plants

compiled by Elizabeth Painter

up to date as of May 1, 2016

Common names (also referred to as vernacular names) are applied differently at different times and places by different users. This list is compiled from many sources and is intended to be as comprehensive as possible. It is not intended to indicate which common name is correct or preferred. Please send comments about this page to Elizabeth Painter (

TaxonSonchus oleraceus
Family common name(s)composite; composita; comp; aster; asterwort; asterworts; sunflower; daisy; dandelion
Genus common name(s)sow-thistle; sow thistle; sowthistle
Species common name(s)common annual sow-thistle; common annual sow thistle; common annual sowthistle; annual common sowthistle; milky-dickles; milky dickles; sow-dingle; St Mary's-seed; St Mary's seed
Common name(s) generally applied to other taxa or multiple taxacommon sow-thistle, common sow thistle, common sowthistle, annual sowthistle, annual sow-thistle, annual sow thistle, smooth sow-thistle, smooth sowthistle, smooth sow thistle, noxious sow-thistle, noxious sow thistle, hare's lettuce; hare's-lettuce, hare's thistle, hare's-thistle, hare’s colewort, hare's-colewort, hare’s palace, hare's-palace, milky tassel, milky-tassel, milky-tassels, swinies, sow-dindle, laiteron are applied to multiple Sonchus taxa; milk thistle, milk-thistle, milkthistle are more commonly applied to Silybum; milkweed, milk-weed, milk weed are applied to taxa in multiple families
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