Heirloom & Perennial Ltd

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Desmanthus Illinoensis, Prairie Bundleflower


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.

Requires a moist but well-drained soil in full sun. Plants are often found growing in clay soils in the wild.

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.

Suitable for the wild garden or other naturalistic plantings. In favourable situations this plant can self-sow to the point of nuisance. 

Edible uses

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.


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