Illinois bundleflower

  • Desmanthus illinoiensis


Brood cover
Illinois bundleflower's structureFlower head

Illinois bundleflower's structure makes it attractive for quail brood cover.

©Don Kurz

Flower heads are white spheres with yellow stamens at the tips.

©Tom Barnes, University of Kentucky


Leaflets are doubly compound and fernlike.

©Don Kurz

Mature seed head

At maturity, Illinois bundleflower seed heads consist of several brown pods clustered in a ball.

Scott Sudkamp, Missouri Department of Conservation

Bundleflower seeds

Bundleflower seeds are round, flat and brown.

Steve Hurst, USDA-NRCS Plants Database


Illinois bundleflower can be identified in summer by the doubly compound, fernlike leaves and white spherical flower heads. By fall, the stems become tough and woody, and the seedpods are distinctive, bearing a ball-shaped cluster of pods, each containing several flat, brown seeds.

Bloom period

June to August

Use by bobwhites

Despite its relative abundance, bundleflower seeds are rarely eaten by bobwhites, which is disappointing, considering that it is one of the easiest and cheapest native forbs to grow. Its height (about 3 feet) and propensity to form a dense stand along roads and on disturbed areas make Illinois bundleflower more important for brood cover than for food. Mexican bean beetles commonly feed on bundleflower, but their use by bobwhite chicks is uncertain. Because it responds so well to disturbance, Illinois bundleflower serves as a good barometer for quail managers. It may be assumed that plant communities with an abundance of bundleflower are good for brood rearing.