Friday, May 6, 2016

The Silktree / Mimosa - Albizia julibrissin

The Silktree - Albizia julibrissin is most commonly known as the Mimosa.  It is most easily recognized by the combination of bipinnate leaves and pinkish inflorescence.  It is a deciduous tree that can reach heights of up to 50 feet tall and generally has a single erect trunk that lead to several low large ascending branches with an umbrella like spreading crown.  

Image Citation: Lesley Ingram,

The bark is light grey in color and either smooth or slightly rough.  The leaves are alternate, bipinnate, with 5-15 evenly paired segments with 13-35 pairs per segment.  The upper surface of the leaves are a yellow green in color, with the under size is paler and lightly hairy.  The flowers on the Silktree are bisexual, radially symmetric and produced in a showy head that is 4-6 cm in diameter.  The center of each flower is surrounded by long filaments of pink and white which make up the showy portions of the inflorence.  The fruit is a flattened legume, yellow to brown in color about 15 cm long with evident flat seeds.  The fruit matures in late summer through Fall.

Image Citation: Lesley Ingram,
Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois,

Originally from Asia, the Silktree (Mimosa) is now established across much of the Eastern United States from New York in the North through Florida in the South, West through Missouri and in portions of California.  It is considered to be invasive in many areas of the United States because of it's tolerance level and ability to grow in not very ideal locations.

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