Chondrilla juncea

Family: Asteraceae
Common name: chondrilla, devil's grass, gum succory, naked weed, skeleton weed
Category: proposed 1a NEMBA

Chondrilla juncea amongst maize plants


Chondrilla juncea L., is a perennial herb with deep tap root, 1.2 m high, with milky sap. Stems upright, highly branched, up to 130 cm long. Leaves green, 4–20 cm long, 2-5 cm wide. Yellow flower heads, 7 cm in diameter. Flowers in summer. Seed colour varies from light brown to black.   


Native to Europe, Central Asia and north-western Africa. Invasive in Australia and United States of America. 

History in South Africa

Skeleton weed was introduced in South Africa for ornamental purposes. It has been recorded in Mtati village (Eastern Cape) in maize land.

Chondrilla juncea flowers and seeds

Environmental and economic impact

Skeleton weed invades pastures and crop lands and disturbs agricultural production because of poor fodder for cattle and outcompetes pasture plants.

How it spreads

Skeleton weed spreads through seeds.  

How to eradicate

Chondrilla juncea is currently controlled by uprooting. There are no herbicides registered for use on this species in South Africa.

What can you do to help?

Report sightings of this plant to the Invasive Species Programme at SANBI. We will need to know its locality (the exact locality, supply a photograph any landmarks or GPS information if possible).

Ruqaya Adams or Alex Marsh

Email address:

Tel: +27 (0)21 799 8403/4


Peter Shisani


  • Invasive species in South Africa. 2010. Chondrilla juncea. Working for water nursery partnership programme. South Africa. Available on 
  • South African plants invaders atlas database. ARC - Plant protection research institute, Pretoria, South Africa. Available on:
  • Parsons, W. and Cuthbertson, E. 1992. Noxious Weeds of Australia, pages 264–270. Available on

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Last updated on 12 November 2014
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