Skeletonweed (Lygodesmia juncea)
Rush Skeletonplant Lygodesmia juncea (Pursh) Hook. (COMPOSITE FAMILY)
Rush skeletonplant is an erect, highly branched perennial 1-2 ft tall. The plant is glabrous throughout and has milky juice. The alternate leaves are linear and distantly spaced, the upper ones reduced to awl-shaped scales. The terminal inflorescence is of ligulate heads with 5 pink florets. The ligules have 5 teeth at the tip. The achene has a tawny pappus of soft hairs. The stems of this plant often have bladder-like insect galls. The milky juice of the plant provides a chewing gum when coagulated. Mexican children have collected the small yellow balls that form on the plant and chewed them for gum, which turns bright blue on chewing. American Indians used extracts from this plant for eyewash. The plant has been reported poisonous by stockmen in Montana and Utah.