Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin)

Botanical Name : Albizia julibrissin
Family :              Leguminosae
Genus  : Albizia
Synonyms : Acacia julibrissin – (Durazz.)Willd.
Common Name : Mimosa,
Official Name :Silktree
Habitat : W. Asia and E. Asia – Iran to China.  Open sunny ravines, forests and by rivers up to 2100 metres in the Himalayas.Woodland Garden; Canopy; Secondary; Sunny Edge; South Wall By;

Description:
A decidious Tree growing to 12m by 10m.
It is hardy to zone 7 and is frost tender. It is in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen from September to November.
Leaf: 20″ alternate, bipinnately compound leaf; late to leaf out; no fall color , Flower/Fruit: Fragrant, light todeep pink, thread like flowers in summer; 5 to 7″ gray-brown seeds pods.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)It can fix Nitrogen.

Mimosa, this naturalized small ornamental tree from China is common in edge habitats, such as along roadsides, beside parking lots, and bordering powerlines. The twice-compound leaves with many fine leaflets and pink powderpuff flowers are very distinctive.

After a late leafing-out, the very fragrant flowers appear in June and continue through the summer, followed by flat bean-like pods. The flowers are favorites of insects, such as this bumblebee, and hummingbirds.

The only similar tree in North Carolina is Albizia kalkora, which is locally naturalized on the Duke University campus, Durham, NC. It has larger leaflets, with fewer pairs of branchlets on the rachis (~6 vs. ~12), and much rougher bark.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline and saline soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Cultivation:
Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil and a very sunny position. Succeeds in dry soils. Highly fertile soils can promote soft sappy growth which is frost tender. Trees tolerate a high pH, saline soils, high winds and drought. They also succeed in poor soils. Trees prefer a more continental climate than Britain and when dormant are hardy to about -20°c in such a zone. They are only hardy to about -10°c in the maritime climate of this country. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun. They succeed on a sunny wall at Kew, and also in a more open but sunny sheltered position there, but only really succeed outdoors in the mildest areas of Britain. If killed back to the ground by a severe winter, plants can often resprout from the base. The form ‘Rosea’ is hardier and more compact, succeeding even in the drier parts of Britain if given some protection. Plants are quite tolerant of pruning and can be fan-trained for growing on a wall. Any pruning is best done in late winter or early spring. Often grown as a summer bedding plant. Quite tolerant of being transplanted. Plants often produce suckers. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Propagation
Seed – pre-soak 24 hours in hot water and sow March/April in a greenhouse or sow as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Germinates in 2 – 3 months at 19°c. Scarification helps. There are about 11,000 seeds to a pound, about 25 – 33% of which germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of fairly rich soil when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer and consider giving them some protection from the cold for their first winter or two outdoors. Root cuttings, late winter in a greenhouse. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Suckers planted out in late winter.

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Cultivars..
‘Rosea’
A hardier and more compact form of the species, it succeeds in the drier parts of the country if given some protection

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves.

Edible Uses: Tea.

Young leaves – cooked. An aromatic flavour, they are used as a potherb. Flowers – cooked. Eaten as a vegetable. The dried leaves are a tea substitute.

Medicinal Actions & Uses:-
Analgesic; Anthelmintic; Carminative; Digestive; Diuretic; Oxytoxic; Plaster; Sedative; Stimulant; Tonic; Vulnerary.

The flower heads are carminative, digestive, sedative and tonic. They are used internally in the treatment of insomnia, irritability, breathlessness and poor memory. The flowers are harvested as they open and are dried for later use. The stembark is anodyne, anthelmintic, carminative, discutient, diuretic, oxytocic, sedative, stimulant, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary. It is used internally in the treatment of insomnia, irritability, boils and carbuncles. Externally, it is applied to injuries and swellings. The bark is harvested in spring or late summer and is dried for later use. A gummy extract obtained from the plant is used as a plaster for abscesses, boils etc and also as a retentive in fractures and sprains.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Other Uses
Gum; Plaster.

A gummy extract of the plant is used as a plaster. No more details are given. Wood – dense, hard, strong, takes a good polish. Used for furniture, industrial applications, firewood etc.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Albizia+julibrissin
http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Albizia_julibrissin
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/trees-new/albizia_julibrissin.html
http://www.duke.edu/~cwcook/trees/alju.html
http://oncampus.richmond.edu/academics/biology/trees/htmls/albizia_julibrissin.htm

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