Overview of Bundleflower (Desmanthus illinoensis) Root Bark

Desmanthus illinoensis, commonly known as Illinois Bundleflower, is a herbaceous plant that grows throughout the year in the forest areas of North America. The plant is usually 2 to 4 feet tall and is known for its beautiful leaves. It has a central stem which is light green. 

The Attractive Leaves

The Desmanthus illinoensis has bipinnate leaves that are approximately 8 inches long. The leaves of this plant resemble the leaves of a typical fern. 

Being from the Mimosa family, it has compound leaves. A plant is said to have compound leaves if every leaf of the plant has 8 to 12 pairs of even-pinnate leaflets. Furthermore, each leaflet has 40 pairs of sub-leaflets, with each sub-leaflet being 3mm long and 1mm wide. 


The Illinois Bundleflower was a minor medicinal plant for the old North American tribes. The Illinois Bundleflower was frequently used by the children of the Ponca and Omaha tribes. The tribals called the Illinois Bundleflower as the Rattle Plant. It was because the rattle seeds present in the dried pods of the plant were used by children to imitate the dancing rituals of the adults in the tribe. 


The tribals in North America prefer growing the Illinois Bundleflower. Although the plant grows well in wet, loamy soil, all other types of soils can also be used for good growth. 

Also, the plant grows better in sunny and moist conditions, but it is easy to grow it under other climatic conditions as well. Moreover, the plant is known to tolerate extreme conditions like drought. 

However, some parts of the plant like the lower leaflets and the buds of the compound flower tend to get dry and fall-off during extreme weather conditions. The plant is not susceptible to common plant diseases like the Foliar disease, and it requires minimal use of fertilizers to grow them as they can fix nitrogen naturally. 

Medicinal Uses

  • Essential Oils

The root bark of the Illinois Bundleflower is edible. They are a good source of protein. However, as they are tasteless, people prefer extracting oils from these plant root barks. Since the oil extracts have many essential nutrients, several pharma companies buy them to prepare CBD oils for joint pain

  • Treating Trachoma

The tribals in North America believe that the traditional use of Desmanthus illinoensis root bark and plant seeds was in treating trachoma. The traditional method of treatment of trachoma with the root bark and seeds was to place five seeds overnight inside the eye and remove them from the eye in the morning, followed by thorough washing. 

  • Treating Itchy Skin

Another prominent use of the Illinois Bundleflower plant is in treating itchy skin. While the tribals use a leaf tea for doing so, companies prepare CBD creams with the extract from the Illinois Bundleflower plant as their base. 

Other Uses

Plants like Desmanthus illinoensis that have natural nitrogen fixation mechanisms are used in a modern type of farming called Carbon Farming. With Carbon Farming, the farmers aim to produce crops that are rich in particular nutrients.