The first time we saw Sonchus acaulis it occurred to us that this was the most ornamental thistle we had ever seen.
Of course its really another wonderful plant from Tenerife, where it is known as cerrajón de monte, and yes it is rare in cultivation. Also known as “Cerrja” which is name that seems to apply to many of the Sonchus species.
Wonderful bright yellow flowers, (see picture right) a little like a highly exaggerated dandelion, the foliage reminds us of a thistle.
A basel rosette of olive green serrated leaves can reach nearly 1m in circumference, attractive in themselves.
In spring the flowers rise well above the foliage and seem to last for weeks.
In its natural environment Sonchus acaulis grows in rocky areas, in cultivation a sunny position in a humus rich well drained soil is best, depending on climate some protection from the hot afternoon sun is beneficial.
A frost free position is essential, as is relative dryness in winter, so in poorly drained soils try mounding up the soil before planting to improve drainage.
Propagation is generally from seed, as plants are rarely available.