Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mimosa: The "Sleeping Tree"

The Mimosa trees are blooming here in Vicksburg, and I'd like to share some pictures I captured last May, of a tree just a few blocks from our house.

I had always admired it from a distance, but had never taken the time to look at it up close. I was both amazed and delighted with what I saw through my lens, and don't think I'll ever look at a Mimosa tree the same way again.

But before I share the pictures, I'd like to share a few facts I learned about Mimosas:

    Originally from China, the Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin), was introduced to the United States in 1745, and is cultivated primarily for use as an ornamental, mainly because of its fragrant and showy flowers.

    It is also known as Silk Tree, Sleeping Tree (because its leaves slowly close during the night and during periods of rain, the leaflets bowing downward as if the tree were sleeping); and Powder Puff Tree, because its flowers resemble a cheerleader's pom-poms.

    Due to its ability to grow and reproduce along roadways and disturbed areas, Mimosas are considered in some areas of the country to be invasive.

    The Mimosa tree can grow up to 40 feet tall in the South, and blooms from early to mid-summer.

But enough facts about Mimosa Trees — let me show you why I found everything about this tree amazing -- from its showy flowers and delicate leaves to its graceful branches bending low.

The tree I photographed is probably 20 feet tall and has a canopy of approximately 30 feet, and as I stood under its branches and looked up, its leaves looked like delicate little ferns blowing gently in the breeze.

Here's a look at the leaves up close ...

But the most interesting feature of the tree is its flowers, and although they are showy from a distance, they are truly spectacular up close!

The feathery "pom-poms" are the stamens, and if you click on the pictures, you can see their tiny green tips, which remind of fiber optic filaments ...

I hope you enjoyed seeing a Mimosa tree up close as much as I enjoyed capturing this one with my camera. If there is a tree in your neighborhood, stop by and take a closer look ... they are truly amazing.


Dorothy said...

These trees, and your pictures of them, are very beautiful,BUT I have fallen out of love with them. They are not a strong or long lasting tree, and they spread like wildfire. We used to have them, but no more.

Glenda said...

Your pics are gorgeous! Butterflies love the blooms, too, I've discovered!

Tonja said...

These trees held such a fascination for me as a child. I remember those flowers, but mostly the fern like leaves. We did not have one in our yard, so I don't know where I saw one enough to remember it so. But, you triggered that memory for me. I'll have to think on it a while and see if I remember. Sad how it takes a little longer these days!

Hope the grandchildren are doing well!

racheld said...

I don't know how I MISSED this!!! Just saw the title as I read about the Little Gem today.

The memories just flew out into my face like butterflies when I looked at those puffs---we used to take three or four into our grubby fingers, sit glamourously at our "vanities" out in the yard, and powder our faces like Rita Hayworth. It was always RH for powdering, and Gene Tierney for applying perfume with a long stopper, for some reason.

And the group of mimosas ringed round our yard had a "runt" on one side, for it was exactly where we'd placed second base, and we'd always do a hand-grasp on the smooth bark trunk as we swung around the tree on our way to third. It was probably the only baseball in history which featured swinging around like a monkey.

(Can you tell I was the only girl in about a five-block radius of rowdy boys?)