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Common Name: Prairie Mimosa
Desmanthus illinoensis is a Perennial up to 1.30 metres tall.
It has edible and medicinal uses.
N. America - Ohio to N. Dakota, New Mexico to Mississippi.
Prairies, river banks and fields[
]. Ditches, stream bottoms, fields, roadsides and low areas, often on clay soils[
Requires a moist but well-drained soil in full sun[
]. Plants are often found growing in clay soils in the wild[
Suitable for the wild garden or other naturalistic plantings[
]. In favourable situations this plant can self-sow to the point of nuisance[
This plant is being evaluated by the Land Institute of Salina, Kansas, as an edible legume for growing with perennial grains in a non-tillage permaculture system[
]. It is certainly worthy of more attention in this country, though the small seed size mitigates against its use[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
Seed - cooked. Rich in protein but without much flavour[
]. The seedpods are about 25mm long and contain 3 - 5 small seeds[
]. They are freely borne in the plants native environment, but will have to be very freely produced in this country if it is to be a worthwhile crop[
A leaf tea has been used in the treatment of itchy skin[
Five seeds have been placed in the eye at night and washed out in the morning to treat trachoma[
Seed - pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in a cold frame in the spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer.
If you have sufficient seed then it is probably worthwhile sowing some in situ in mid to late spring.