Sonchus oleraceus, with many common names including common sowthistle, sow thistle, smooth sow thistle, annual sow thistle, or swinies, etc., is a plant in the dandelion tribe within the daisy family. It is native to Europe and western Asia.
Sonchus oleraceus plant is annual herb with a hollow, upright stem of up to 30–100 cm high. Prefers full sun, and can tolerate most soil conditions. The flowers are hermaphroditic, and common pollinators include bees and flies. It spreads by seeds being carried by wind or water. This plant is considered an invasive species in many parts of the world, where it is found mostly in disturbed areas. Its specific epithet oleraceus means "vegetable/herbal". The common name ‘sow thistle’ refers to its attractiveness to swine, and the similarity of the leaf to younger thistle plants. The common name ‘hare's thistle’ refers to its purported beneficial effects on hare and rabbits.