This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol3", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Perennial herbs, with stiff divaricately branched stems, the basal leaves large and mostly pinnatifid, those of the stem small, narrow, alternate, and few middle sized heads of yellow flowers mostly solitary at the ends of the branches. Involucre cylindric, several-flowered, its inner bracts in 1 or 2 series, nearly equal, with several series of small or minute outer ones. Receptacle flat, naked. Rays truncate and 5-toothed at the summit. Anthers sagittate at the base. Style-branches slender. Achenes oblong or linear, 4-5-angled, many-ribbed, more or less spiny near the summit, abruptly contracted into a beak. Pappus of copious soft white simple bristles. [Greek, lump, from the gummy matter borne on the stems of some species.]
About 18 species, natives of the Old World, the following typical.
Chondrilla juncea L. Sp. Pl. 796. 1753.
Stem rush-like, hirsute at the base, glabrous above, much branched, 1°-3° high. Basal leaves runcinate-pinnatifid, those of the stem linear or linear-lanceolate, acute, dentate or entire, sessile, 1/2-1 1/2' long, 1/2"-1 1/2" wide; heads terminal and lateral on the branches, short-peduncled or sessile, 4"-6" broad; involucre glabrous or nearly so, about 4" high, its inner bracts narrowly linear; achenes muricate and spiny near the summit, slightly shorter than the filiform beak.
In dry fields and waste places, Delaware to Maryland and Virginia. Naturalized from Europe. July-Aug. Naked-weed. Skeleton-weed. Devil's-grass. Hog-bite.