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Desmanthus illinoensis (Illinois bundleflower)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Desmanthus illinoensis

Desmanthus illinoensis (Michx.) MacMill. ex B.L. Rob. & Fernald

Illinois Bundleflower, Bundleflower, Prairie Bundle Flower, Prickleweed, Illinois Desmanthus, Prairie Mimosa

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Synonym(s): Acuan illinoense, Mimosa illinoensis

USDA Symbol: deil

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

One to several erect stems grow from the base to 1-3 ft. (sometimes up to 5 ft.) in height. The leaves are twice pinnately compound. Six to 15 pinnae each have 20-30 leaflets. Leaves fold in strong sunlight and when touched. Small, ball-shaped clusters of greenish flowers occur on axillary stalks. An erect plant with ball-like clusters of small, whitish or greenish flowers on tall stalks rising in axils of compound leaves. Flat, leathery, twisted seedpods follow.

The somewhat similar Prairie Acacia (Acaciella angustissima) has fruit 1 1/2-3" (4-8 cm) long. Prairie Mimosa and Prairie Acacia are nutritious range plants, high in protein.


From the Image Gallery

43 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Bipinnate
Leaf Shape: Linear
Inflorescence: Head
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Brown

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: AL , AR , CO , DC , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MD , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NE , NM , NV , OH , OK , PA , SC , SD , TN , UT , VA , WI
Native Distribution: SC to AL, TX & e. CO, n. to IL, s.w. MN & ND
Native Habitat: Frequent in North Central Texas, rare in Edwards Plateau and Plains Country, rare in Southeast Texas and Trans-Pecos. Grows in clay or caliche soils in open areas. Open, wooded slopes; rocky prairies; stream banks; roadsides; waste places

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Various soils. Does not tolerate coarse sands or dense clays.
Conditions Comments: It is an erect plant with ball-like clusters of small, whitish or greenish flowers. The leaves fold in strong sunlight and when touched. Flat, leathery, twisted seedpods follow. It blooms in summer and in fall after rains. Visually, it is interesting for its fern-like leaves and "bundled" tangles of seed pods.


Use Wildlife: Seeds are desirable for wild birds. The plant is considered a nutritious and palatable browse for wildlife.
Use Medicinal: Pawnees used leaf tea as wash for itching. Hopi used seeds placed in eye for conjunctivitis.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Deer Resistant: Moderate


Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Sow scarified, inoculated seed.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 610 - Edible wild plants of the prairie : an ethnobotanical guide (1987) Kindscher, K.
Bibref 417 - Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America (2000) Foster, S. & J. A. Duke
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Desmanthus illinoensis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Desmanthus illinoensis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Desmanthus illinoensis


Record Modified: 2016-10-28
Research By: TWC Staff, TMH

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