Q. Can you tell me about mimosa trees? Are they native or invasive in the Northeast?
Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin) is a small, flowering tree in the Mimosaceae family.It is also known as the silk tree or Persian silk tree. Its most characteristic features are bi-pinnate,compound leaves and showy pink flowers.It produces numerous, flat, brown, seed pods in late summer.
Originally from a region encompassing Iran (Persia) to China and Korea, it is widely planted as an ornamental tree in the west (particularly in Europe). It is hardy in U. S. Hardiness Zones 6 - 9. Mimosa trees grown quickly, often adding 2 feet of growth per year and reach a maximum height of 20 - 40 feet in 10 to 20 years.
Although mimosa trees have many attractive features and can make an attractive specimen plant on a lawn, there are a number of reasons not to plant it in your garden. First, it is short-lived, living only 10 to 20 years in the Northeast. Second, its branches are brittle and, third, it poses a serious litter problem from both the flowers and seed pods.Another problem with mimosa trees is that they are an invasive species.Interestingly, they are also allelopathic, meaning that they have a mechanism to prevent other plants from growing near-by.
If you decide to plant a mimosa tree because of its attractive attractive form and flowers, it is worth noting that there is a cultivar (A. julibrissin f. rosea) that is smaller (15 - 25 ft.) and more cold hardy (to -10°F).
Courtesy of the NYBG Plant Information Service