Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin) is an imported ornamental that is very frequent in our area, and is most noticed when it produces its fluffy pink flowers in early summer. Its commonness is worrisome from a forest health standpoint.
Mimosa is a native from Iran to Japan, but it was brought to North America as a yard ornamental and then naturalized into the wild, easily found growing along roadsides and on abandoned land. It is a smallish tree growing to only about 40 feet tall, but has a wide spreading crown. It has feather-like compound leaves that are 9-12 inches long and made up of many small finger-like leaflets. The flowers are fragrant and look like bright pink powder puffs. The fruit is a long bean pod that turns brown and hangs on the tree on into winter.
What worries me about mimosa is its encroachment, for I’m seeing more and more of it around. It’s listed as an exotic invasive plant, meaning it has potential to nose out our native trees which are more important for timber and wildlife and messes with the forest ecosystem. If you have mimosa on your property and are not using it as a landscape plant, I recommend eradication to prevent its spread.
The list of invasive exotic plants is getting longer each year: kudzu, multiflora rose, buttercup, autumn olive, tree of heaven, and a multitude of other plants are taking over in places and their control gets more expensive each year. Beware of what you plant on your land. Do some research to make sure you’re not turning loose some Frankenstein.