Mimosa acacias belong to the genus Acacia and the family Mimosaceae. This flowering plant is available in a wide array of varieties including small shrubs to large trees. Mimosa acacias grow worldwide, and have naturalized in Australia.
Depending on the variety, the foliage color range includes silver gray-blue, gray-green leaves to purple-tinted foliage in different shapes, including feather-like leaves and narrow, drooped leaves. Flowers are fragrant and vivid golden yellow-orange to pale yellow color in a round shape that appear as solitary, spiked form, in pairs or in clusters. Mimosa acacias grow from under 1 foot in height to more than 30 feet.
Mimosa acacias have a relatively short life span. Though their life expectancy ranges from 20 to 30 years, they make an impact quickly. Many mimosa acacias bloom in the second year and they grow quickly. When provided appropriate care, young plants are vigorous growers, making planting mimosa acacias in the home garden a low-maintenance success.
Though acacias come in a variety of sizes, you may prune any cultivar according the desired size and shape, making them a versatile plant. Pruning is helpful in preventing dieback of branches that do not receive enough sunlight; prune to thin interior or blocked branches for growth of a strong, wind-tolerant tree. Mimosa acacias are hardy plants, but they must be kept in temperatures above 20 degrees F to prevent freezing injury. Additionally, avoid fertilizer as it may harm your plant, but maintain sparingly deep waterings; rainfall is often sufficient, but the addition of up to three annual waterings is beneficial. Plant these trees in full sun and well-drained soil.
Varieties of the mimosa acacia plant include Acacia adunca, a small tree that grows to a height of 23 feet with a fast growth rate and dark green leaves. Acacia baileyana Purpurea is a small tree that grows to a height of up to 30 feet with gray leaves that display a purple cast. Acacia covenyi is a shrub that grows to a height of 20 feet, displaying silver-blue leaves. Acacia craspedocarpa is a shrub that grows to a height of 8 feet with a round form and gray-colored leaves.
In most cultures, trees play a role either as a source of power or a representation of anything from the gods to warfare. The cultural history of the acacia tree focuses on its religious importance. China has four main trees associated with its gods; one of these trees is the acacia. This plant also makes a significant mark in the Buddhist and Hindu cultures who consider the tree a sacred plant. Additionally, acacia wood is believed to be the material used for the Ark of the Covenant. Acacia wood is also said to make up the crown of Christ and the altar of the Tabernacle, according to historical findings, notes the University of Georgia School of Forest Resources Extension.