It is an annual or perennial herbaceous plant growing to 1-1.2 m tall, with hairy stems and clear (not milky) sap. The leaves are spirally arranged; larger leaves at the base of the flowering stem are often pinnate, with a large oval terminal leaflet and one to four small side leaflets, while smaller leaves higher on the stem are simple oval; all leaves have a toothed margin. The flowers are yellow, produced in a capitulum 1-2 cm diameter, the capitula being numerous in loose clusters at the top of the stem.
There are six subspecies:
Away from its native area, Lapsana communis is naturalised, and sometimes considered an invasive species, in many areas around the world, including Australia, Chile, New Zealand, and most of North America.
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Feb 22, 2003; MICHAEL LANDY is in his kitchen on his hands and knees. "Come round," said his breezy message on my answerphone, "and we can go...