General: Perennial herb. Leaves are small, giving the plant a skeleton-like appearance.
Height: 0.4 - 1.3 meter in height.
Flowers: Flowers are yellow and found at the end of the branches either singles or in groups of 2-3. Each flower head contains 10 – 12 strap-shaped petals that are flat across the end with distinct teeth.
Leaves/Stems: Stems are branched, rushlike, with milky juice. The base of the stem is coarse with downward pointing stiff hairs. Basal and lower stem-leaves are sharply toothed & 5 – 13cm long; these fall off. Middle & upper stem leaves are alternate, reduced, & linear. In the early spring, the rosette can resemble a dandelion.
Root: Taproot. Can reach 2.5 meters deep.
Skeleton Plant (Lygodesmia juncea) has pink, occasionally white flowers. Native.
Narrow-leaved Wire Lettuce (Stephanomeria tenuifolia) has pink, occasionally white flowers. Native.
Mustards (Brassicaceae) Rush skeletonweed can be distinguished from other plants by its leaves that have a smooth surface & leaf lobes that project backwards. It also produces a milky latex sap when the stem is broken, and even young rosettes have a long taproot.
Where did it come from? Native to southern Europe.
Where does it grow here? It has not been detected in the LRISS region. Rush Skeletonweed can grow in a variety of habitats like grasslands, rangelands, roadsides, and disturbed areas at low elevation.
Reproduction: Reproduces by seed & vegetatively from roots. Seeds remain viable in the soil for 6 – 18 months. Rosettes develop from root buds in autumn or from seed.
When does it grow, flower & seed? Flowers July to September or fall frosts.
Spreads By: A single plant may produce 20,000 seeds, which are dispersed by wind, water, animals, machinery such as farm equipment, & humans.
Plant Type: Perennial forb.