Mimosa

Scientific name

Mimosa L.

Common names

sensitive plant, sensitive briar, catclaw mimosa (M. pigra)

Family

Fabaceae

Could be confused with

Neptunia

Native distribution

tropical and subtropical America

Species commonly cultivated

none

U.S. Federal Noxious Weed: Mimosa pigra

Identification: Mimosa pigra pods break into individual hairy segments. The seeds are distinctly oblong, flattened, light-colored, with a wide pleurogram.

See M. pigra disseminule fact sheet.

Adventive distribution

Mimosa pigra L. (giant sensitive plant) is introduced into northern Australia.

Weed status

Mimosa pigra is a serious weed in Southeast Asia and is considered one of the worst weeds in Australia. It is also a weed on the U.S. federal noxious weed list.

Habit

creeping or erect herb or shrub

Brief description

Perennial. Stem creeping or erect, highly branching, spinose. Leaves bipinnate, with 6-16 pairs of leaflets, sensitive to touch (will fold up); petioles and leaves also spinose. Inflorescence axillary. Flowers in globose heads, pink to purple. Seeds produced in distinctive hairy pods that break into individual one-seeded segments (in M. pigra). Dispersal by vegetative fragmentation or of seed pods and pod segments by water or animals.

Natural habitat

riparian, littoral zone, mostly in shallow areas; disturbed areas near water

Additional comments

Mimosa is a large genus of over 400 species, with only a few semi aquatic species. Mimosa pigra, although sensitive, is not nearly as sensitive as M. pudica L.