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Bundleflower in Fall
Mass of Illinois bundleflowers with brown seed pods - quite an interesting feature in the fall and winter.

Native flowers are great plants to use in a landscape because they can withstand the heat and drought conditions of Nebraska summers as well as the frigid temperatures and snow that piles up during Nebraska winters. One great native plant to use for amazing fall interest is a plant known as Illinois bundleflower or prairie mimosa (Desmanthus illinoensis). This is a great plant to use for a fascinating look in the summer and lasting interest into the fall and winter.

Illinois bundleflower does not sound like a plant that is native to Nebraska, due to its name, but it is native to the Midwest states, including Nebraska. It is a perennial plant with grooved stems that grow up to three feet tall under normal growing conditions, but can grow up to five feet tall under exceptional growing conditions. This perennial has leaves that are bipinnately compound meaning the leaf is divided into leaflets and each leaflet is divided into multiple more leaflets. The overall leaves look almost fernlike. Illinois bundleflower is also called false sensitive plant in some locations because the leaves look and act like the leaves of sensitive plant, which is the plant that folds all its leaflets together when it is touched.

Illinois bundleflower blooms from June to August with small, one inch, round, white blooms that fluff out around the stalk of the flower bloom. Once the bloom is done, the flower turns into a very unique seedhead, that is the most desirable trait of the plant. The seeds are produced into an interesting pod that is a bunch of flattened, curved pods that are attached in a round shape. These pods will then stay persistent on the plant into the fall and winter months.

As an acreage owner, wildlife habitats may be important to you. If you give the wildlife food and habitat, they may be around more for you to enjoy their beauty. Illinois bundleflower is a great plant choice for lovers of wildlife. This plant is important for food for wildlife because it is high in protein and it will help to rebuild bad soil locations. The seeds are also loved by many birds, including pheasant, bobwhite, and prairie chickens.

Illinois bundleflower is grown in landscapes, native prairies, along roadsides, and in pastures. If you want to plant Illinois bundleflower, it prefers full sun and well drained soils. If planted in very fertile soils, it can become aggressive. This plant typically can withstand most any soil type, making it a great choice for acreage owners in southeast Nebraska. The photo below shows a mass of Illinois bundleflowers with brown seed pods - quite an interesting feature in the fall and winter.

Nicole Stoner
Nicole Stoner
Extension Educator - Horticulture

As a professional horticulturist, Nicole's focus areas include trees, shrubs, lawns, gardens, and insects.

Gage County Extension
1115 West Scott
Beatrice, NE

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