Sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) is a wildly nutritious green, this one found growing out of the rocks in ʻĪao Valley on Maui this week. In addition to it’s edible leaves, the flowers, flower buds, and roots can all be eaten. Green Deane’s Eat the Weeds – Sow Thistle article has wonderful details of its identification and history. The main parts I like to point out are the exaggerated terminal leaflet, which is the end of the leaf is typically large, and that the leaf hugs/wraps around the stem. Sow thistle is found growing along roadsides, disturbed areas where humans have turned the soil like construction sites and as a major agricultural weed (oftentimes more nutritious than the plants farmers are growing for market).
If you learn this plant in Hawaiʻi you will find that knowledge useful if you travel to other parts of the globe as well. It is a blessing to travel to other parts of the globe and immediately, after proper identification that includes a minimum of 3 identifying characteristics, have a wild food you can identify and eat.
Sow thistle growing in Haiku, Maui, Hawaii. They can sometimes have a blue-green coloration to the leaves.