Thursday, February 2, 2012

Prairie Mimosa, Bundle Flower & Tick-Trefoil


Desmanthus brachylobus ( Illinois Bundleflower )
The roots fix nitrogen enriching the soil and the seeds are rich in protein, making this an excellent potential perennial grain plant.

Desmanthus canadensis ( Showy Tick-Trefoil )
A vigorous, erect perennial, reaching up to 7 ( reports of 9 ) feet in height, that is native to much of North America ( from Alberta to Nova Scotia; south to Oklahoma to Arkansas to Virginia ). It looks best planted in groups rather than as individuals.
The trifoliate leaves are composed of 3 leaflets, up to 4 inches in length. The foliage is blue-green.
The pink to purple flowers are borne on branched inflorescences during mid to late summer.
They are followed by sticky seedpods which may stick to clothes or peoples pets.
Hardy zones 3 to 7 in full sun on moist soil.

* video found on Youtube

Desmanthus illinoiensis ( Illinois Bundleflower or Prairie-Mimosa )
A woody-based, shrubby perennial, reaching up to 8 x 3 ( rarely over 5 ) feet in height, that is native to central North America ( from North Dakota to Wisconsin to far southern Ontario to Ohio; south to New Mexico to Alabama ). It is also more recently also spread into the wild in parts of the eastern U.S. It has become extinct in the wild in Ontario due to the loss of tall grass prairie. It is often late to appear during spring, often emerging during mid May in the Midwest.
The finely-textured, bipinnate leaves resemble that of Albizzia julibrissin ( Mimosa Silk Tree. Each pinnae, up to 4 inches in length, is made of many narrow leaflets up to 0.2 inches in length. The foliage is luxuriant bright green.
The white puffball flowers, up to 0.3 inches wide, are borne during mid-summer.
They are followed by twisted seedpods that curve around each other forming bunched clusters.
Hardy zones 5 to 8 in full sun or partial shade ( prefers sun ) on just about any fertile, well drained soil whether clay or sand, moist or dry. It requires 15 + inches of average yearly precip to thrive. Cut stems to near ground level during the winter.
Propagation is from the seed which ripens during early October. It should be soaked in water overnight then sown at room temperature.

Pharmacology: external link ( )

* photos of unknown internet source

* video found on Youtube

Excellent cold and drought tolerance. The foliage is deep green and persists until autumn frost. It is otherwise identical to the species.

* Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.

Desmanthus leptolobus ( Prairie Bundleflower )
A low spreading perennial, that is native to the south central U.S. ( Nebraska to central Texas ) where it is locally common on well drained prairies as well as disturbed areas. It is very vigorous and may be difficult to eradicate once established.

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