Invasive rush skeletonweed found outside Helena, state warns

The Montana Department of Agriculture said Tuesday that rush skeletonweed has been found at two sites outside of Helena, adding the invasive weed can cut crop yields by as much as 70% and prevention in central and eastern Montana is critical.

The invasive rush skeletonweed has been found at two sites outside of Helena, the Montana Department of Agriculture said Tuesday.

Montana Department of Agriculture

Rush skeletonweed, also known as chondrilla juncea, is a Montana priority 1B noxious weed. It has limited presence in Montana and if found requires eradication or containment and education, agriculture officials said. This is now the only known population of rush skeletonweed east of the Continental Divide in the state.

It is branched with few or no leaves, giving it a “skeleton-like” appearance.

The rosettes look identical to dandelions and once bolted, the stems have stiff downward pointing hairs at the base. Flowers are yellow, smaller than a dime, appear in late summer, and when seeded have tufted white hairs that disperse in the wind. All plant parts exude a milky latex when broken, state officials said.

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