Native to the Great Plains of the United States, and commonly found across the western U.S.
A biennial or short-lived perennial that reproduces by seeds. It is a common roadside weed and does especially well in alkaline soils. It has a fibrous root system and is highly drought tolerant, doing well on very dry, compacted soils. Flowers persist well into the fall.
Leaves and flower heads exude a white, sticky material, making it unpalatable to livestock. However, Native Americans used it as a treatment for many illnesses, and today the extracts from this plant may be in medicines for asthma, whooping cough, skin rashes, and bronchial spasm.
Mature plants may be as tall as 3 feet, usually with several stems rising from the crown, and several branches coming off each stem. The stems are reddish and strong. Leaves are alternate and are up to 3 inches long with wavy or toothed margins.
Flower heads occur singly at the ends of the stems, with the bracts composing a large, round ball below the flowers, and prior to the bright yellow flowers emerging there will be a puddle of white, sticky sap in the center of the bracts. Ray flowers are long and showy and disk flowers are very small and hidden within the head.
Characteristicts Important to Control:
A plant highly tolerant of dry and compacted soils and a heavy seed production. Physical removal of individual plants is a good control option.