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Mimosa Tree Facts

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Mimosa Tree Facts

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Overview

Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin), also known as the silk tree, is a fast-growing, deciduous tree with a life span of 10 to 20 years. The tree is named after Filippo degi Albizzia, who was the first to bring mimosa out of Asia in 1749. Mimosa is a member of the Fabaceae or pea family, a large group with more than 16,000 members. The tree is high-maintenance and not for everyone, but the gardeners who are willing and able to give the tree the time and attention it needs are rewarded with a spectacular flower show.

Features

The mimosa tree grows from 15 to 40 feet tall with an open, airy crown spread of 20 to 50 feet. Lacy, delicate, fern-like, compound leaves grow up to 20 inches long and are made up of leaflets that measure under 2 inches long. Fragrant, silky, pink, 2-inch-wide pompom flowers bloom from late April to early July and are a favorite nectar source for bees. Flowers are followed by brown, hard fruits from 3 to 6 inches long.

Cultivars

Botanists have developed different varieties of the original tree. Alba is a variety with white flowers, Rosea (Ernest Wilson) is a hardier version has bright pink flowers and only grows from 10 to 15 feet tall.

Environment

Mimosa is hardy in USDA zones 6b through 9. Plant in full sun and a moist, well-drained soil. Partial shade is an option, but the tree performs best in full sun. The tree is drought and salt tolerant. The mimosa tree is a native of Asia, ranging from Iran to Japan. In the United States, the tree is found growing wild in the Southeast and in California.

Uses

Use mimosa to provide shade for a terrace or patio. The tree is also used as a specimen plant for a front lawn.

Problems

Fruit and twigs cause a litter problem. The bark is thin and damage results from being hit with a lawnmower. The litter problem and the drooping habit of the branches make the tree a bad choice near sidewalks. The tree's roots grow close to the surface and get under sidewalks, lifting them up. Mimosa (vascular) wilt is a fatal, contagious disease. There is a disease-resistant variety of the tree available. Cottony cushion scale, mites and the mimosa webworm attack the tree. The tree is considered an invasive species in watershed areas.

Keywords: mimosa tree, silk tree, pom pom tree

About this Author

Regina Sass has been a writer for 10 years, penning articles for publications in the real estate and retail industries. Her online experience includes writing, advertising and editing for an educational website. Sass is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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