Chondrilla juncea

Skeleton weed

Family: Asteraceae

Origin: Eurasia

Close up of skeleton weed flowers.
A herb that grows up to 80cm tall and can live for two years or longer in the right conditions. A very hardy plant, they have long deep taproots that can find water during drier months.
Photo credit: Jackie Miles and Max Campbell

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Whole region — Sustained control
  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Biennial or perennial herb < 80 cm tall. Taproot is deep. Leaves are < 10 x 2 cm and form basal rosette. Flowering stems are almost leafless. Flowerheads are yellow and borne in December – March. Achenes bear pappus and are borne in late summer – autumn.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell skeleton weed within the Auckland region.
  • You must not plant skeleton weed within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any skeleton weed on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.


Disturbed sites, roadsides, dry riverbanks, cropland, pasture, wasteland.


Seeds dispersed by wind and attachment to animal pelts. Vegetative spread from root fragments. Human-mediated dispersal through contamination of clothing and machinery.

Impact on environment

Potential to invade over-grazed pastures, vineyards and cereal crops.


Site management

Maintaining good pasture cover can prevent establishment or suppress an infestation. Prevent overgrazing especially in summer. Other herbicides are available for selective use in pasture.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig or grub out at least the first 5cm of taproot.

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water.

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Skeleton weed growing in a scraggly cluster.
A plant that has its main leaves growing low against the ground and its flowers on long tall stems to reach above neighbouring grasses. Flowers look like dandelions.
Photo credit: Utah State University Archive, Utah State University,
A skeleton weed bush.
Seeds form with white fluff which can carry seeds on the wind. Prefers poor soils that are open and exposed, and can grow into pasture.
Photo credit: Utah State University Archive, Utah State University,
Close up photo of the yellow flowers of the skeleton weed.
Flowerheads are borne in December – March.
Photo credit: