Alternative common names:
Rush skeleton weed,gum succory,devil’s grass, and naked weed.
Skeleton weed (Chondrilla juncea) is a perennial forb and is considered a noxious weed. It can grow in disturbed soils of roadsides, croplands, especially irrigated grain fields, waste places and residential properties. It is a thin, spindly plant which reaches a meter in height. It starts from a basal rosette of leaves and branches extensively, often forming a weedy thicket.
Where does this species come from?Europe, Asia and north-western Africa.
What is its invasive status in South Africa?NEMBA Category 1a
Where in South Africa is it a problem?Eastern Cape
How does it spread?It spreads by seeds, pieces, also by cloning itself at the root, tilling of soil and chopping up plants actually make this species spread by sectioning and distributing root parts.
Why is it a problem?
Skeleton weed displaces native species and is highly competitive for water and nutrients.
What does it look like?
Leaves:Coarse-looking, multiple stems appear leafless due to subtle leaves and arise from a basal rosette of sharply lobed leaves. The lower 10.2 to 15.2cm of stem is covered with coarse brown hairs. Both stem and leaves produce a milky sap when broken.
Flowers: Flowerheads are solitary, 1-2cm wide, shortly stalked, consisting of 9-12 small flowers per head. Flowers are small and yellow, they develop in summer and autumn.
Fruit/seeds: Mature, healthy plants can produce 1,500 flower heads and up to 20,000 seeds.
Does the plant have any uses?
No - agricultural weed.