The plant can be classified as a noxious weed. Care should be exercised when weeding or handling the plant. Many people report irritations ranging from burning sensations, redness, and mild to severe rashes when coming in contact with the spines. Hands should be rinses immediately after handling the plant, as the chemical irritant can spread easily via contact to other parts of the body, in a similar way to poison ivy.
This plant is native to Europe, but is also a common weed in North American roadsides, landscapes, and pastures. Its edible leaves make a palatable and nutritious leaf vegetable.