Mimosa is pantropical, found in the Caribbean, the Guianas, from
the southern USA to Chile, most of Australia, much of Africa, southern Europe,
and southern Asia. It is evergeen over most of its range, but in some habitats it is
deciduous. In some areas mimosa is considered an invasive species.
Plants: A small tree or shrub, with multiple trunks. Reaches
a height of 6½-23' (2-7 m). Stems are deep brown or gray, covered with long, sharp paired thorns
up to 2" (5 cm) in length.
Leaves: Feathery, finely divided, bipinnate,
with 2-8 pairs of pinnae and 10-12 pairs of leaflets in each pinna. Leaflets are ¹/₁₆-¼" (2-7 mm) long and
¹/₃₂-¹/₁₆" (0.8-1.8 mm) wide.
Flowers: “Puffballs” are yellow, very fragrant, and
⅜-½" (1-1.5 cm) in diameter. They
appear nearly all year. An essential oil called Cassie, which smells like violets, is distilled from the flowers.
Fruits: Pods are glossy, 1½-3" (4-7.5 cm) ×
½" (1.5 cm), straight or curved, and pointed on both ends. They are dark brown to
blackish, and contain chestnut-brown seeds ¼-⁵/₁₆" (7-8 mm) ×
⅛" (4 mm).