Albizia julibrissin Durazz. - Mimosa

Albizia julibrissin plant

Family - Fabaceae

Stems - Woody, multiple or sometimes single. A tree or shrub to 6m tall. Twigs glabrous, somewhat angled, often growing in a slight "zig-zag" fashion.

Leaves - Alternate, even bipinnately compound, to 40cm long. Pinnae opposite, +/-12 pairs per leaf. Leaflets to 1.5cm long, 20-30 pairs per pinna, glabrous, coming together at night.

Inflorescence - Axillary, pedunculate clusters of +/-20 flowers. Clusters subglobose. Flowers sessile.

Flowers - Corolla tubular, 5-lobed, creamy white to greenish, pubescent externally. Lobes to 2mm long, acute. Stamens many per flower, pinkish at tips becoming whitish at the base, to 2.5cm long, united at base into tube 3mm long, glabrous, filiform. Style 1, pink, +2cm long, filiform, glabrous. Ovary terete, green, 3mm long, .5mm broad. Calyx tube 3mm long, 5-lobed, appressed pubescent, pale green. Lobes minute. Flowers fragrant. Fruit a flattened pod to +20cm long, indehiscent, with +/-8 seeds.

Albizia julibrissin flowers

Albizia julibrissin calyxCorollas close-up.

Albizia julibrissin fruitFruit.

Flowering - June - September.

Habitat - Cultivated but escaped to dry areas along roadsides, railroads, open woods, thickets, and fence rows.

Origin - Native to Asia.

Other info. - This species is widely cultivated in this state. It is also very common in the other habitats mentioned above. The flowers are very fragrant, especially at night, and are visited by hummingbird moths, Hemaris thysbe, on a regular basis.
Some authors like to split the beans into three separate families, in which case this plant would fall into the Mimosaceae.

Photographs taken in Poplar Bluff, MO., 6-11-04 and near Birmingham, AL., 6-20-04.


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