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Mimosa Albizia julibrissin


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Mimosa, flowers
credit: Carl E. Lewis/CCSA

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Alternate name: Silk Tree

Family: Fabaceae, Pea view all from this family

Description Albizia julibrissin is native to southwestern and eastern Asia, from Persia east to China and Korea. It is also widely known as Persian silk tree. Its leaves slowly close during the night and during periods of rain, the leaflets bowing downward as if the tree were sleeping.

Albizia julibrissin is a small deciduous tree growing to 5–12 m tall, with a broad crown of level or arching branches. The bark is dark greenish grey in colour and striped vertically as it gets older. The leaves are bipinnate, 20–45 cm long and 12–25 cm broad, divided into 6–12 pairs of pinnae, each with 20–30 pairs of leaflets; the leaflets are oblong, 1–1.5 cm long and 2–4 mm broad. The flowers are produced throughout the summer in dense inflorescences, the individual flowers with no petals but a tight cluster of stamens 2–3 cm long, white or pink with a white base, looking like silky threads. They have been observed to be attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. The fruit is a flat brown pod 10–20 cm long and 2–2.5 cm broad, containing several seeds inside.

Habitat Cities, suburbs & towns, Fields, Scrub, shrub & brushlands.

Range Southwest, Florida, New England, Southeast, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Texas, Plains, California.