Desmanthus illinoensis

illinois bundleflower, prairie bundleflower, bundleflower, prickleweed, illinois desmanthus, prairie mimosa


Leaf Arrangement


Leaf Type

bipinnate, compound, dissected

Growth Form

forb, shrub

Flower Color


Flower Petals


Flower Month

June - August

Height (meters)

0.3 - 2.4

Milky Sap








Growing Season

Warm season

Wetland Class


Prairie Coefficient of Conservatism


Field Characters

May be distinguished from Mimosa, Schrankia, and Neptunia by its upright growth and in the case of Schrankia in that it lacks prickles. It also resembles Acacia angustissima but is distinguished by its fruit of curved rather than strait pods and grooves in its stem.

Cultural Information

Propagation by seed is best. Scarification is needed for reliable germination. The seeds are rust brown and flat. The number of seeds per pound vary between 200,000 and 57,000. The recommended planting rate is 10 lbs./acre. The seeds benefit from treatment with inoculum before planting. When grown in pure stands for seed production it can be harvested with a combine.

Animal Use

Desirable to cattle as forage. Flowers are visited by butterflies. Seeds are eaten by granivorous birds and mammals.

Natural History

A deep-rooted perennial found in the clay soils of Louisiana and east Texas. This species ranges through the plains and prairies of the U.S. from Alabama to Texas and north to South Dakota (Correll and Johnston 1979). It is winter hardy, drought resistant, and widely adapted to many soil types, although it is generally found in moist sites. It occurs on soils of a neutral pH of 6-7. It is nutritious, high in protein, and similar in food value to cultivated legumes. It is eaten by all classes of livestock, is a decreaser under heavy grazing, and is an indicator of range condition. It is being studied as a possible perennial food crop by Wess Jackson of the Land Institute (Evans 1989).


Disturbed fields and roadsides, rocky, open wooded slopes, pastures, prairies, ravines, stream banks, waste places.