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Flaigg, Norman G.
Lygodesmia texana (Torr. & A. Gray) Greene
Texas skeletonplant, Texas skeleton weed, Skeleton-plant, Purple dandelion
Synonym(s): Lygodesmia aphylla var. texana
USDA Symbol: LYTE
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
Texas skeleton weed grows 12–15 inches tall, with smooth, almost leafless stems. Its few leaves are at the base of the plant and are narrow, gray-green, with short lobes. The bare stems, growing at odd angles, suggest its common name. The flower heads, rose to lavender and 2 inches across, grow singly at the end of flower stems. Only 1 flower head blooms at a time on each slender, forking stem. The bracts form a tube about 1 inch long, and the flower head extending from it opens out almost flat. It has 12 ray flowers and orchid-colored disc flowers that curl toward the center. Each ray has 5 minute teeth at the tip. When the stems are broken, they exude sap which coagulates into a gum.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Shape:
Linear Leaf Margin: Laciniate Size Notes:
12-15 inches tall.
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
, TX Native Habitat:
Found on Edwards Plateau, Rio Grande plains, and the Panhandle. Well-drained limestone soils.
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Low Light Requirement:
Sun Soil Moisture:
Dry Conditions Comments:
Skeleton plant gains its common name from its minimal foliage. What leaves it does have are so unobtrusive as to make the stems appear bony and twiggy. Do not overwater it or allow it to be overcrowded by other plants in the garden. Many butterflies use it as a nectar
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: Minimal
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Commercially Avail: yes
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Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0060
Collected May 19, 1990 in Bexar County by Lottie MillsapsNPSOT 0224
Collected May 24, 1992 in Comal County by Mary Beth WhiteNPSOT 0229
Collected June 3, 1992 in Comal County by Mary Beth White
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-39
Collected 2006-05-05 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Record Last Modified: 2011-05-19
Research By: TWC Staff