Also known as Illinois Bundle flower or Prairie Mimosa, Desmanthus Illinoensis is a perennial member of the mimosa family that is native to Illinios but which has spread to much of the United States. It is the most widely distributed species of Desmanthus, measuring up to three feet with attractive fernlike leaves that close up at night or occasionally during intensely hot weather. This specie’s subtle white flowers form early in the growing season and are replaced by unique clustered seed pods, which are responsible for the name “bundleflower”. The pods are abundant producers that easily reseed the ground for the following season. Also, unlike tropical mimosas, bundleflower is not frost tender. It is also beneficial in that it releases nitrogen-fixing bacteria into the soil as part of a symbiotic relationship that can benefit surrounding plants as well. The roots are also reportedly used as an insecticide, and its seeds are rich in protein. As a result, it is often planted in pastures to feed cattle..
Desmanthus seeds have a hard seed coat that needs to be softened for germination to occur. Heat some water on a stove without reaching a boil. Pour this hot water on the seeds and let them soak for about 20 minutes. If the water cools you may add some more hot water to keep the temperature up. Some growers will also file down or nick the seed before soaking. Plant the seeds at a depth of 1/8” in a moist, well-draining soil mixture. Bundleflower will tolerate a variety of soil compositions as long as they are well-draining and moist. Sufficient sunlight is also essential.