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Prairie Mimosa, Illinois Bundleflower, Prickleweed, Illinois Desmanthus - Desmanthus illinoensis


Family: Fabaceae - Pea family Genus Common Name: Bundleflower Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Subshrub Herb
Desmanthus illinoensis - Prairie Mimosa, Illinois Bundleflower, Prickleweed, Illinois Desmanthus. While there are 14 species of Bundleflower (Desmanthus) in the United States, Desmanthus illinoensis - Prairie Mimosa - has by far the widest distribution. Most species are limited to one or two states each, with a handful in a few more states than that, but Desmanthus illinoensis is found in 29 states in the south and central parts of the United States. Texas has the prize with the most Desmanthus species, with 10 species found in the state.

Syn. Acuan illinoense; Mimosa illinoensis

Found in:
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, TX, UT, VA, WI

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Desmanthus illinoensis

Distribution of Desmanthus illinoensis in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 28 Apr 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Dade County, GA Date: 2013-August-04Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The flowerheads are on separate axillary peduncles which are up to 3 inches long. The flower contains 25 to 50 florets, each of which has 5 short pale green (perhaps lined with white) petals and 5 strongly exserted stamens. The long filaments are white which gives the blossom a white appearance rather than green.
Desmanthus illinoensis

Site: Dade County, GA Date: 2013-August-04Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The flowerhead before the florets open.
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Desmanthus illinoensis

Site: Dade County, GA Date: 2013-August-04Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Shortly after the the flowers die the elongated seedpods start to form.
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Desmanthus illinoensis

Site: Dade County, GA Date: 2013-August-04Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Each seedpod contains 2 to 5 seeds. The twisted pods will turn dark brown; the seeds are more a burnt sienna.
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Desmanthus illinoensis

Site: Dade County, GA Date: 2013-August-04Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The leaves of Prairie Mimosa are bipinnately compound. The compound leaf can be up to 8 inches long. Each of the compound secondary leaves have 20 to 30 opposing leaflets each of which are one-quarter to one-half inch long, and there may be up to 15 secondary compound leaves per leaf. The leaves fold somewhat when touched and may also do so in strong sunlight.
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Desmanthus illinoensis

Site: Dade County, GA Date: 2013-August-04Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Prairie Mimosa can grow up to 5 feet tall and grow in large colonies, forming dense thickets in sunny areas.

This species is considered to be weedy by some, but its seeds are consumed by game birds, and the foliage is a good source of protein for herbivores. It grows in prairies, along the edges of marshy areas, and in disturbed areas.
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Desmanthus illinoensis

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer