Common on Loess Hills prairies and dry, gravelly prairies, skeletonweed (Lygodesmia juncea) is mostly found in western Iowa. although it can be found in other parts of the state. It is native to western North America, hence it prefers dry areas.
It is easy to overlook skeletonweed when the flowers are not blooming, as the plant is rather inconspicuous. When the flowers do bloom, typically from June to August, you will find single pink to lavender flowers at the end of branching stems. The flowers have five petals. A small wasp will make galls along the stems. The stems appear leafless, which provides the common name of skeletonweed.
Great Plains Indians use this plant to treat diarrhea, coughs, heartburn, and kidney ailments, as well as saddle sores on their horses. After childbirth, mothers drink a tea made from the plant to enhance lactation.