About Illinois Bundleflower: This nitrogen-fixing legume provides nutrition for wild animals as well as the soil, since its seeds are a favorite food of birds, deer, antelope, and rodents. This dual purpose gives it the distinction of being one of the most important native legumes. It has a wide range of adaptability, and can be found in many soils and growing conditions. One unique feature of the leaves is their sensitivity to light and touch, resulting in a temporary wilting to control temperature and prevent the loss of moisture. Children of Native American tribes once used the distinctive round seed heads of this plant as rattles.
Illinois Bundleflower Germination: Before planting, pour 180 degrees F water over the seeds and soak them overnight to soften the seed coat and speed germination. After the last frost of spring, direct sow ¼” deep and keep the soil consistently moist until germination, which should occur within 10-15 days. To start the seed indoors, sow them in a flat 4-6 weeks before the last frost of spring; keep the soil lightly moist and at a temperature of 70 degrees F until germination. Thin or transplant seedlings to 18-24” apart. This plant tolerates most soils with the exception of heavy clay.
Growing Illinois Bundleflower Seeds: Water seedlings until they have become established; mature plants can tolerate some drought, but appreciate occasional watering in dry periods. In favorable locations, this plant will self-sow readily.
Harvesting Illinois Bundleflower: This sensitive plant quickly wilts when touched, and is best displayed in the garden or prairie rather than as a cut flower.
Saving Illinois Bundleflower Seeds: After flowering, this plant will produce unique round clusters of twisted seed pods. When ripe, the dark brown pods will split and reveal the mature reddish brown seeds. Shake the heads over a container to remove the seeds. Store the cleaned seeds in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Illinois Bundleflower Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Prairie Mimosa, Spider Bean, Prickleweed, False Sensitive Plant, Illinois Mimosa Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer Height: 48-60 inches Spacing: 18-24 inches Light: Full Sun Soil Moisture: Medium to Dry USDA Zone: 4a-9b Seeds Per Oz: 4,500 Produces delicate, fern-like foliage and inconspicuous ½” white starburst flowers.