rush skeleton weed (Chondrilla  juncea)


(Photo courtesy of Weeds of the West)
Scientific/Common Name:
 Chondrilla juncea, rush skeletonweed (2)

Description:  This weed is a perennial with branched stems, can grow up to four feet tall, and looks as if it is leafless.  Leaves are basal and look like a dandelion where the flower stem grows.  The stems leaves are thin and grow up to 4 inches long.  The inside of the stems and leaves make a milky like substance.  The lower four to six inches of the stems are covered with brown hairs.  The seeds have a rough texture, and have a white hair like structure. (5, 2)

Roots:  The roots of this weed can reach up to 8 feet long.  If the roots are severed they can reach the surface of the soil from about 4 feet under. (2)

Stems:  This weed has green stems and narrow leaves.  These leaves give the weed a skeleton like look or appearance.  The bottom 4 to 6 inches has rough little hairs that point downward and have a reddish tint to them.  This characteristic makes it easier to distinguish from other similar weeds. (5, 3, 2)

Leaves:  This plant has a rosette of basal leaves that look similar to the rosette of a dandelion, and are sharp with deep toothed edges. (5, 2)
Flowers:  The yellow flower heads, which are 3/4 of an inch in diameter, are spread all over the stem of the weed.  The flower heads are either single or in clumps of 2 to 5. (2, 1)

Fruits/Seeds:  Every one of these plants has the potential to make 20,000 seeds.  The seed color varies from light brown to black. (2)

Methods of Reproduction/Spread:  The way rush skeleton weed reproduces is by seed and vegetative growth.  The plant flowers its first year. (2)

Life Duration:  This weed is a short-lived perennial. (2)

Habitat:  This particular weed is found mostly in waste areas, roadways, or any drought or disturbance weakened areas.  The weed is also found in sagebrush-infested areas. (3, 2)


1. Fred Bentler. "King County." Rush Skeletonweed. August 19, 2003. . 3/11/04, <>.

2. "Rush Skeletonweed." . . MC Weed District. 3/11/04, <>.   

3. "Center For Invasive Plant Management." Weed of the Week. Copyright 2001. . 3/11/04, <>.

4. "RUSH SKELETON WEED." BLM Prineville Dist.. February 19, 2000. Department of Agriculture. 3/11/04, <>.

5. "Rush Skeletonweed." Minidoka County. February, 2000. 2004 Minidoka County, Idaho. 3/10/04, <>.

By: Layne and Zac 4/5/04.      Updated By: Ben Foster 3/1/07.  
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