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Rush Skeletonweed (Chondrilla juncea)  

Close up of Rush Skeletonweed flower and seedhead.
Close up of Rush Skeletonweed flower and seedhead.

Rush skeletonweed is a perennial whose branched stems may be 4 feet tall and appear leafless. The lower 4 to 6 inches of the stems are covered with coarse brown hairs. The dandelion-like rosettes, that form in the fall, die as the plant ages. When the plant is cut or broken, it oozes a milky white latex sap. Rush skeletonweed was first reported in the U.S. near Spokane, Washington in 1938. It was found in Idaho and Oregon during the 1960's.

This weed thrives in well drained, sandy textured or rocky soils, along roadsides, in rangelands, pastures and grain fields.

Small yellow flowers begin in early summer and continue until frost in the fall. Seeds mature 9 to 15 days after the flowers open. Each seed has a parachute of fine hairs which allow it to travel long distances by wind.

Rush skeletonweed spreads primarily by seed, but rosettes can form from lateral roots at varying distances from the parent plant.

Skeletonweed is difficult to control. It will be necessary to use a number of different control methods. (From Kootenai County Noxious Weed Control Department)

Rush Skeletonweed rosettes.
Rush Skeletonweed rosettes.

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