rush skeletonweed

Chondrilla juncea


Family: Asteraceae

Weed Class: B

Year Listed: 1988

Native to: Europe, Asia and Northern Africa

Toxic: not known to be

Other Legal Listings:

additional photos



Why is it a noxious weed?

Rush skeletonweed is a threat to irrigated lands, wheat areas and rangelands. Rangeland infestations displace native and beneficial forage species grazed by livestock and wildlife.

How would I identify it?

General Description: It is a perennial ranging in size from 1 to 5 feet tall. Its long slender taproot can grow up to 7 feet deep. Plants begin as a basal rosette of leaves and then grow 1 to 6 branching flowering stems. Plants will exude a latex sap from injured surfaces.

Flower Description: Flowerheads 1/2 inch in diameter and grow in leaf axils and stem tips, single or in clusters. Flowerheads have usually 11 (7 – 15) yellow ray flowers. Green bracts at base of flower head in a single row followed by a single row of smaller bracts.

Leaf Description: Basal leaves are lobed with lobes pointing back towards the leaf base. Leaves on branching stems are few, narrow and may have entire (smooth) edges.

Stem Description: Stem bases have coarse, downward pointing brown hairs and are hairless toward the tips. Stems are highly branched and have few leaves.

Fruit/Seed Description: Seeds 0.1 inch (3 mm) with ribbed surface and white bristles (pappus) on one end that aid with wind dispersal.

May be confused with:

How does it reproduce?

Plants spread by seed with each mature plant producing between 1,500 and 20,000 seeds. It also spreads by shoot buds found along lateral roots and from shoot buds found near the top of the main root. It also grows from root fragments in the soil.

Where does it grow?

Rush skeletonweed is found in pastures, rangeland, cropland, roadsides, open and disturbed areas. Please click here to see a county level distribution map of rush skeletonweed in Washington.

How do I control it?

General Control Strategy

Research found that an integrated approach, using both plant competition and biological control agents, often results in better control then either method used separately. Herbicide control may vary depending on the biotype of rush skeletonweed.

Mechanical Control

Hand-pulling can work for small infestations. Areas must be controlled 2 to 3 times per year for 6 to 10 years to remove seedlings and re-sprouting roots. Removal of deep tap roots is easiest when soils are damp. Mowing plants repeatedly may reduce plants' biomass and seed production but may not provide eradication.

Cultural Control

Using beneficial forage species for competition will not suppress the dominance of rush skeletonweed. Continual grazing decreases populations while rotated grazing increases populations.

Biological Control

The gall midge (Cystiphora schmidti) was introduced to California in 1975 and is established throughout the Pacific Northwest. The gall midge impacts the rosette and flowering stems of all biotypes in this region. Affected stands are often a noticeable purple to reddish color. The rust fungus (Puccinia chondrillina) was introduced to Washington in 1978. Two biotypes, the early-flowering biotype in Washington and Idaho and the late-flowering biotype in Oregon, are resistant to this rust. A gall mite (Eriophyes chondrillae) was introduced to Washington in 1979, and it is considered the most effective biological control agent available to date. This mite is effective against all biotypes of rush skeletonweed. The visible impacts to flowering buds are leaf-like galls, up to 2 in diameter, which can reduce or prevent seed production.

Herbicide Control

Please refer to the PNW Weed Management Handbook, or contact your county noxious weed coordinator.


For more information

UW Burke Herbarium image database information on Chondrilla juncea
Lincoln County Noxious Weed Control Board control information
See our Written Findings for more information about rush skeletonweed (Chondrilla juncea).

Additional Photos



Rush skeletonweed flowerheads


Rush skeletonweed basal leaves


Rush skeletonweed basal leaves and stem


Rush skeletonweed growth


Rush skeletonweed infestation


Basal leaf upper side


Rush skeletonweed infestation


in bloom


yellow flowerhead


developed seed with pappus


mature plant habit


fruit structure


downward pointing coarse, bristly hairs


basal rosette and stem hairs


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