Mimosa trees (Albizia julibrissin) are now blooming in Itawamba County. There are many Mimosa groves in the county, especially in the edge of the woods along the highways. The tree was a popular yard tree during the pre-air conditioning days of the 1940’s and 1950’s and provided some relief from the hot and humid Mississippi summers. The tropical looking tree produces an excellent shade but over the years the Mimosa has proved to be quite invasive.
A Japanese native, the Mimosa is an over-sized member of the pea family and introduced during 1745. It was one of the first plants brought to North America purely for ornamental reasons.
The Mimosa folds its leaves at night and produces showy fragrant flowers. Many have remarked that the scent of the flower resembles nutmeg or watermelon.
As the tree is able to survive the winters in the southern United States, it has become an invasive species and is considered by many to simply be a messy pest crowding out native trees.
Photograph by Bob Franks