The mimosa tree can encompass a wide range of tree varieties. Mimosa trees are most easily recognized by their pom-pom-like flowers, which have silky, floss-like features. Although usually grown as an ornamental tree, the wood from mimosa can be used for a number of different things.
Although classified as a hardwood, the wood from the mimosa tree is about the same density and hardness as pine. Mimosa can, however, be easier to work with because it doesn't have pine's pitch and sap issues. The wood of mimosa trees is light colored with very distinctive, dark grain that can be brought out by saw work and clear finishing techniques.
Mimosa has been used in the past as a fuel wood, such as in Brazil where the trees are planted in seven-year rotations. It is often used as a scroll saw wood or for wood turnings. It sands well, but care must be taken when finishing turnings to avoid removing more of softer areas of grain and less of harder. If care is not taken, sanding can result in a washboard effect in the wood.
Depending on the cultivar, mimosa is native many tropical and sub-tropical parts of the world. Mimosa scabrella is native to Brazil and other parts of Central and South America. Albizia julibrissin is a form of mimosa native to parts of Asia. Mimosa pigra is native to Australia and parts of the Pacific. Some varieties of mimosa are also native to the Middle East and tropical parts of Africa.
In some parts of the United States, the Albizia julibrissin, sometimes called the silk tree, is an invasive form of Mimosa. It is sometimes also called the silky acacia. This tree produces copious amounts of seeds that spread and germinate easily. As a result, it has become a strong competitor for native plants and trees in the south-eastern United States.
Problems With Wood
When working with mimosa wood, consider using a dust mask or respirator. The dust from mimosa is considered an extreme nasal irritant, according to the Botanical Dermatology Database. Although some people may experience skin irritation from contact with the wood or dust, it is more common to have dust irritate the mucus membrane of the nose and throat.