South Dakota Native Plant Research
Asteraceae : Lygodesmia juncea

Asteraceae : Lygodesmia juncea


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Family Name


Common Name

Rush skeletonweed

Native American Name

Lakota: Makacansinhu, čhaŋȟlóǧaŋ hú čháŋ,


Lygodesmia juncea is a perennial herb arising from a woody rhizome, growing from 10 cm to 70 cm in height and having a yellow milky sap. The mostly erect to ascending stems are green, stiff, hairless and much branched. The stems often have round 1 cm wide galls made by a solitary wasp. These are few leaves, the lower ones are entire, linear to linear lanceolate, less than 4 cm long and 3 mm wide and pointed at the tip. The upper leaves become smaller as they ascend the stem and are reduced to scales in the upper plant. There are numerous heads, each single at the end of a branch. The involucre is cylindrical, about 1.5 cm tall, the green bracts in 2 series, the outer short and unequal in length, the inner long and narrow. Each head has 5 pink to lavender, sometimes whitish ray flowers, the ligule is 10-12 mm long with 5 small teeth at the tip. The fruit are cylindrical achenes 6-10 mm long with a tuft of white to light brown hairs. Rush skeletonweed is commonly found from low to mid elevations throughout South Dakota, in dry grasslands, sagebrush steppes, and open pine woodlands, often on disturbed sites. Lygodesmia juncea blooms from June to August.

Additional Notes

Skeletonweed is easily overlooked when the flowers are not open, the spindly, seemingly leafless stems are inconspicuous, although it can take on a somewhat bushy appearance in specimens that are highly branched. The Lakota name makacansinhu means skunk resin plant.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Seeds can be collected in July and August when they are released from the seedhead.

Germination: Require 60-90-day cold treatment. Fall seeding is recommended.

Soils: Well drained soils.

Light: Full Sun

Water: Medium to dry soils.

Notes: This species is somewhat weedy, and may not be appreciated by neighbors.

Asteraceae : Lygodesmia juncea