Skeleton Weed

(Chondrilla juncea)


Status of skeleton weed in Tasmania

  • Skeleton weed is a declared weed in Tasmania under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of skeleton weed are prohibited in Tasmania.
  • The legal responsibilities of landholders and other stakeholders in dealing with skeleton are laid out in the Skeleton weed Statutory Weed Management Plan.

What does skeleton weed look like?

  • Skeleton weed is a perennial (long-lived) herb growing to 1 metre high. Skeleton weed occurs in three different forms: the narrow-leaf form, intermediate-leaf form, and broad leaf-form. The following is a description of the common narrow-leaf form.
  • The rosette leaves are hairless and lobed, with the lobes pointing back toward the base of the leaf. The stems are wiry, ribbed and much branched. The stem leaves are sometimes absent, but where present are small and inconspicuous. The daisy-like flowers are yellow, with strap-like petals that are toothed at the end and white-striped underneath. The flowers occur in small clusters along the stems from late spring to autumn. The seeds are small (3 to 4 mm) and have a white tuft of hair (called a pappus) resembling a parachute on a short stem. The root is long and thin to a depth of 2 or more metres. Stems, leaves and roots exude a thick milky sap when broken.
  • Spread is by seed and root fragments. Seed is spread by wind, and by attaching to clothes, stock and vehicles. Seed can also be spread as a contaminant of hay and cereal grain. Seeds are short lived (less than 6 months) and do not form a seed-bank in the soil. Skeleton weed is also spread during cultivation when the roots are fragmented and dragged to clean areas where the fragments regenerate and form new rosettes.
Image top: Skeleton weed, © CDFA.
Image above left: Skeleton weed, © Luigi Rignanese.

Impacts of skeleton weed

  • Skeleton weed is a serious weed of cereal crops.

Where does skeleton weed occur?

  • Skeleton weed is native to southern and central Europe. Skeleton weed is widely naturalised on mainland Australia.
  • Skeleton weed has not managed to establish in Tasmania.

What you need to do

  • If you locate skeleton weed anywhere in Tasmania, or if you find a plant that you think could be skeleton weed, immediately contact Biosecurity Tasmania on 03 6165 3777 to report this weed.

See also
Skeleton Weed Statutory Weed Management Plan
Weed Links and Resources

Other useful links
Pest Genie

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