Desmanthus spp.

Illinois Bundleflower.

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Desmanthus spp.

Botanical information

Desmanthus illinoensis: The Illinois Bundleflower is a perennial herb, that grows to a height of 1m with a spread of 0.8m. The stem is erect, slender and branching; the leaves are bipinnate, fernlike and pale green; the flowers are greenish white, globose, up to 2cm diameter and appear in summer; the seed are small, hard flat and brown contained in a pod.

Indigenous to North America (southern states), it is adaptable to most soils in an open, sunny position, and is drought resistant. It can be weedy in many areas and frequently appears on disturbed soils. Due to its ability to fix nitrogen from the air it does well on poor soils.

Seeds need scarification to germinate. Cover the seeds with very hot water and let soak overnight or until they swell. Pick out those that didnt swell and repeat process with them. Sow swollen seeds immediately in seeding mix, covering with two to three times their thickness. Do not overwater or allow to dry out and provide good drainage and bright light. Should germinate within a few days with pretreatment. Do not overwater and keep humidity low or fungal problems are likely occurr.

Traditional uses

A very important and nutritious forage crop. Leaves are low in alkaloids and are known to have been consumed by tribal people as food. The rootbark has found great interest by neo-shamans as it is very high in tryptamine alkaloids. Roots are usually harvested after 2-3 years, but alkaloid content seems to increase over time.


The root bark contains a staggering 25% DMT and 8% NMT, plus minor amounts of N-hydroxy-NMT and 2-hydroxy-NMT . The whole root contains 2% DMT and 0.5% NMT, plus minor amounts of N-hydroxy-NMT and 2-hydroxy-NMT (quoted from TIHKAL, but I doubt the 25% reference).

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