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076  Sonchus oleraceus L.

Asteraceae

Nome comune: Grespino comune

Sonchus oleraceus (Common sowthistle,[1] Sow thistle,[2] Smooth Sow Thistle, Annual Sow Thistle, Hare's Colwort, Hare's Thistle, Milky Tassel, Swinies) is a medicinal plant native to Asia and Europe, which is nutritious food for humans and most livestock. The common name Sow thistle refers to its attractiveness to swine and the similarity of the leaf to the ear of a pig, while the oleraceus portion of the Latin name refers to its delectable nature [1] (sonchus refers to the hollow stem). Another common name Hare's thistle refers to its beneficial effects and attractiveness for hare and rabbits. It also has been ascribed medicinal qualities similar to dandelion and succory.[2] Leaves are usually the part which people eat, and they are useful as salad greens, or cooked like spinach. Blanching or boiling removes bitter flavour. Nutritional analysis reveals 30 40 mg of vitamin C per 100g, 1.2% protein, 0.3% fat, 2.4% carbohydrate. Leaf dry weight analysis [3] shows per 100g (likely to vary with growing conditions): 45g Carbohydrate, 28g protein, 22g ash, 5.9g fibre, 4.5g fat; in all, providing 265 calories.This plant is considered an invasive species in many parts of the world, where it is found mostly in disturbed areas.[3][4] It spreads by seed which is carried by wind or water, and can often be controlled by mowing as it does not regrow from root fragments.[4] This is one of the species used in Chinese cuisine as kuci (??; lit. bitter vegetable).[5] The flowers are hermaphrodite, and common pollinators include bees or flies.[4] Prefers full sun, but can tolerate most soil conditions. Sonchus oleraceus has a variety of medicinal uses.[5] Parts of the plant have been used variously to stimulate menstrual flow, alter liver function, stimulate fluid elimination, stall defecation, and to combat cancer, warts, inflammation and fever. Attempts at weed control by herbicidal use, to the neglect of other methods, may have led to a proliferation of this species in some environments.