Acacia brachyloba Willd.
Acacia glandulosa (Michx.) Willd.
Acuan glandulosa Michx.) A.Heller
Acuan glandulosum (Michx.) A.Heller
Acuan illinoense (Michx.) Kuntze
Darlingtonia brachyloba (Willd.) DC.
Darlingtonia glandulosa (Michx.) DC.
Darlingtonia intermedia Torr.
Desmanthus brachylobus (Willd.) Benth.
Desmanthus falcatus Scheele
Mimosa brachyloba (Willd.) Eaton
Mimosa contortuplicata Zuccagni
Mimosa glandulosa Michx.
Mimosa illinoensis Michx.
Common Name: Prairie Mimosa
Desmanthus illinoensis is a herbaceous perennial plant producing multiple, erect stems from a deep, woody taproot. It can grow 45 - 130cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and a medicine. It is used in revegetation projects on the N. American prairies.
N. America - N. Dakota to Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, south to Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Florida
Prairies, river banks and fields[
]. Ditches, stream bottoms, fields, roadsides and low areas, often on clay soils[
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Desmanthus illinoensis is a very cold tolerant plant, able to withstand temperatures down to around -30°c when dormant[
]. It grows best in areas where the mean annual rainfall is in excess of 500mm[
Requires a moist but well-drained soil in full sun[
]. Thrives on medium-textured soils[
]. Plants are often found growing in clay soils in the wild[
]. The plant is tolerant of most soil types, except heavy clays and exceptionally coarse sands[
]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[
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[
In trials, the plant has yielded from 163 - 197g per square metre (1.6 - 2 tonnes per hectare)
The leaves are sensitive to external stimulation such as sunlight or touch - these cause the leaflets to fold inward, thus giving the plant one of its common names as the 'false sensitive plant'[
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 as a wash 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[
The plant is frequently used in range revegetation projects. It is recommended for use in range seedings and for wildlife food and cover[
The dried seedpods (complete with seeds) are used as rattles[
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.