Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mimosas Anyone?

Well, a glass of champagne with a splash of orange juice does sound very inviting for Sunday brunch but since this is a gardening blog I will stick to the Mimosa Tree (Albizia julibrissin).

Mimosa trees are in full bloom in the southeast filling the air with its fragrance and beautifying the roadsides.


This exotic looking tree, sometimes referred to as a silk tree, usually has a single trunk habit but can have multiple trunks that grow quickly and upwards of 20 to 40 ft. tall.


It has wispy, fern-like leaves with pink pom pom flowers


which bloom May through July.


The bipinnate compound leaves fold in and hang down at night giving the illusion that the tree is sleeping.


The fluffy blooms are a magnet for bees and butterflies. And who can resist the intoxicating smell?


It was introduced to the United States in the 18th century as an ornamental tree by French botanist André Michaux in his garden in Charleston, South Carolina. Once a symbol in southern gardens like Crepe Myrtles and Magnolia trees, the Mimosa has fallen out of favor in recent years and is now considered a weed by many.


Mimosa trees are considered invasive. They reproduce easily. One tree can produce over 200,000 seeds a year! This is a threat to native plants in our area. If trees are located near wet areas seed pods will float downstream allowing them to spread quickly. Birds and other wildlife also help to spread the seeds. The roots can spread as much as 100 feet in ideal conditions and are known for sending up shooters.

Many people have magical childhood memories of climbing these trees (its low branching, forking limbs make for a great climbing tree!) while others think of it as a "weed" tree and take desperate measures to eradicate their gardens of this tree. I have mixed feelings...I enjoy the beauty of this tree growing on the side of the road; however, I would never plant one in my garden. And whereas they are beneficial to pollinators, I am an advocate of creating an environment where native plants can flourish. There is concern about how invasive these trees are and the crowding out of native species.

What is your opinion of this illustrious tree?

17 comments:

  1. They do smell nice and have interesting blooms. But because they are so invasive, I agree that I would never plant one in my garden. The neighbor has one, and I pull up all the seedlings that sprout in my yard.

    That's a wonderful photo of the bee hovering over the blooms!

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    1. i didn't know that these trtees are invasive. although i have had my tree for more than 10 years, i have never had any sild tree seedlings. Maybe because our winters are sold.

      Does anyone know if their seeds are OK for parrots to eat?

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  2. I think mimosa is a cool plant, but not the invasive part. Sad too because it is so interesting. This is the first post I have seen written about it.

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  3. It is a really pretty tree but the seeds are crazy. I have that nightmare now with all the maples in my neighborhood. It's awful.
    Cher

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  4. I have no experience with the mimosa trees other than enjoying them at a resort which is full of them (maybe because they are invasive?). The resort's name . . . Mimosa, of course. - Bom

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  5. Well, I do love to see them, although I don't have one. I do, however know they come up where you don't especially want one, and are not the easiest to get rid of.

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  6. Karin, You give a very balanced picture of this plant. But I would never grow it because it is highly invasive. Carolyn

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  7. I am thinking of saying it is invasive here, then i saw you really said so at the end. Even the mimosa vines which some of our countrymen saw being sold in stores in the US is much more invasive and very difficult to control here in the tropics. Definitely, it is a headache for us even not in the agriculture sector. But i am with you in appreciating the beautiful blooms and its help for pollinators, but the verdict to plant is NO!

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  8. I'm not familiar with them...must be too cold up here...it is a beautiful tree, but that many seeds? No way!!!!

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  9. There has not been a mimosa intentionally planted here in 40 years. They volunteer from ancient seed. If we wanted them to live and grow, they would die the first year. Since we don't want them, they live on and on unless cut down in which case they grow back. I try to never let one bloom.

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  10. I grew up seeing these everywhere. I always thought there was a beauty to them. They are resilient, for sure...and invasive, absolutely. I try to appreciate them, but remove them from places they don't belong.

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  11. I am torn since we planted one in our yard grwoing up although it never got very big or invasive in the 5 years we were there...I would not plant one though in my garden

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  12. I too like them from afar, but would not want one in my yard. Great bee pic!!!!

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  13. All was looking and sounding so well about this tree - till I read about the invasive habit. No thanks - we have a few plants here that are invasive and it's a constant effort to keep them in check. But it does look beautiful !

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  14. All the trees of mimosa looking so amazing.Mimosa tree can grow to around 35 feet tall and 20 feet around.There are different varieties of mimosa, and most common mimosa flower is full pink to white.I really like this tree.

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  15. Wonderful images of mimosa tree.The flowers of mimosa are lovely and delicate pink.So,its a beautiful addition for your garden and backyard.

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  16. I have one that was planted in 1974, just outside Indianapolis, it is now about 30ft tall and 20feet wide with several trunks and full of life. I've enjoyed this tree and it's visitors, bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, finches,...I don't see that it has been an invasive tree, it's planted amongst apple trees, northern green, and a cherry tree. All of which are healthy and bloom every year, minus a few years when we didn't have a substantial bee population. Great post even if its been 2 yrs.

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"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soul"

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