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Similar but less problematic plants:
Aesculus sylvatica Aesculus sylvatica
Albizia julibrissin is often confused with:
Albizia kalkora Albizia kalkora's form and bark
Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis Tree
Native alternative(s) for Albizia julibrissin:
Aesculus pavia Plant in bloom
Amelanchier arborea Form in the spring, flowers appear before the leaves.
Betula nigra Betula nigra
Cercis canadensis tree form with pink blooms
Chionanthus virginicus Flowering branch
Cornus florida Cornus florida
Diospyros virginiana Form
Ilex opaca Ilex opaca
Liquidambar styraciflua Liquidambar styraciflua
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Lantana camara Lantana camara flower
Robinia pseudoacacia Mature form
Clematis paniculata Clematis paniculata
Albizia julibrissin has some common insect problems:
Mimosa Webworm
Albizia julibrissin has some common disease problems:
Cottony Cushion Scale

Mimosa Albizia julibrissin

Previously known as:

  • Acacia julibrissin
  • Feuilleea julibrissin
  • Mimosa julibrissin
  • Sericandra julibrissin
Phonetic Spelling
al-BIZZ-ee-ah joo-lee-BRIS-sin
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

Albizia julibrissin, or Silk Tree, is a member of the Fabaceae (legume) family. It is also known as Mimosa and is a native of Asia that was introduced in the United States in 1745. It was cultivated as an ornamental tree due to its fragrant and showy flowers. This tree is now invasive in North Carolina and other parts of the Southeastern United States. The genus name, Albizia, honors Filippo degli Albizzia, an Italian naturalist, who introduced the Silk Tree to Tuscany, Italy.  The species name, Julibrissin, comes from the Persian word "gul-i brisham" which means silk flower. 

The Silk Tree is a fast-growing, small to medium size, deciduous tree. It typically is found along roadsides, grasslands, vacant lots, clearings, or flood plain areas. The tree has a broad crown and may have single or multiple trunks. Its height typically ranges from 10-50 feet and width spread 20-50 feet.  In 2006 a Silk Tree was found that measured 64 feet high and had a width spread of 80.4 feet. The tree tolerates summer heat, and its flowers prefer full sun.  The limbs of the tree are weak and may be damaged by strong winds, snow, and ice. It is a short-lived tree with an average life span is 30 years. The leaves are fern-like in appearance and are very sensitive. The leaflets will close when touched and at nighttime. It blooms from May to July. The fragrant flowers appear to be pompom-like clusters of silky pink threads and measure about 1.5 inches long.  Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds are attracted to this flowering tree. The fruits are flattened legumes and contain 5 to 16 seeds. The fruits first appear in June and typically mature from August to September. The seeds are easily dispersed by the wind, water, or by animals.  The seeds contain a neurotoxin when ingested can be toxic to livestock and dogs.

The Silk Tree will take advantage of disturbed land areas.  It grows vigorously and can displace native trees and shrubs. It produces a large number of seeds and it will  resprout when cut back or damaged. It is a strong competitor for native species in open areas, along roadsides and forest edges due to its ability to grow in different soil types and its large production of seeds. When planted near homes, it requires significant clean up from shedding of their leaves, blooms, and seed pods. The tree can tolerate a variety of soils and moisture conditions because its roots have the ability to produce nitrogen. Mimosa can grow in dense stands which reduces sunlight and nutrients that preferred species require. It can also become a problem along banks of waterways, where its seeds are easily transported in water. Due to its invasive nature, the planting of the Silk Tree should be limited. There are many other native, non-invasive trees which would be much better alternatives. 

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

The Silk Tree is susceptible to Mimosa webworms, mites, Vascular Wilt Disease, Shot Hole Borer, Armillaria Fungus, Root Rot,  and a cottony cushion scale.  Wilt may also occur which is caused by a soil-born fungus that affects the root system and will eventually cause the tree to die.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alba'
  • 'Boubri'
  • 'Charlotte'
    disease resistant
  • 'Flame'
  • 'Ishii Weeping'
  • 'Merlot Majik'
  • 'Rosea'
    Hardy and compact.
  • 'Summer Chocolate'
    deep burgundy mature foliage and brighter pink and white flowers
  • 'Tryon'
    disease resistant
  • 'Union'
'Alba', 'Boubri', 'Charlotte', 'Flame', 'Ishii Weeping', 'Merlot Majik', 'Rosea', 'Summer Chocolate', 'Tryon', 'Union'
Tags:
#hummingbirds#showy flowers#deciduous#invasive#fragrant flowers#heat tolerant#weedy#messy#seed dispercers#seed pods#weak wood#poor soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#problem for dogs#bee friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alba'
  • 'Boubri'
  • 'Charlotte'
    disease resistant
  • 'Flame'
  • 'Ishii Weeping'
  • 'Merlot Majik'
  • 'Rosea'
    Hardy and compact.
  • 'Summer Chocolate'
    deep burgundy mature foliage and brighter pink and white flowers
  • 'Tryon'
    disease resistant
  • 'Union'
'Alba', 'Boubri', 'Charlotte', 'Flame', 'Ishii Weeping', 'Merlot Majik', 'Rosea', 'Summer Chocolate', 'Tryon', 'Union'
Tags:
#hummingbirds#showy flowers#deciduous#invasive#fragrant flowers#heat tolerant#weedy#messy#seed dispercers#seed pods#weak wood#poor soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#problem for dogs#bee friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Albizia
    Species:
    julibrissin
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The Chinese have used the bark and flowers of the Mimosa tree for centuries to relieve anxiety, stress and depression.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Iran, India, China, and Japan
    Distribution:
    Argentina, Cyprus, East Aegean Island, India, Iraq, Peru, Turkey, Ukraine, temperate zones in the western and southeastern United States.
    Fire Risk Rating:
    high flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts hummingbirds, bees, songbirds, and butterflies.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Dimensions:
    Height: 20 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 20 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Multi-stemmed
    Open
    Spreading
    Vase
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Legume
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    The fruits are brown flat elongated pods measuring 4 to 8 inches and about 1 inch wide. Each pod contains about 5 to 10 light brown oval-shaped seeds measuring 0.5 inches in diameter. The fruits first appear in June and mature by August to November. The seeds are typically dispersed from September to November. Pods may remain on the tree through the winter months. The fruit does not attract wildlife.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Radial
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The Silk Tree flowers bloom from May to July. They are fragrant, which makes them attractive to bees. The flower is pink and has pom-pom like clusters of 15 to 25 small silk threads. The flower measures about 1.5 inches long. The mimosa bloom is monoecious (has both male and female parts) and looks like a pink fluffy powder puff. Each flower cluster grows at the base of the current year's twigs.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Soft
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Insignificant
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are medium green in color and appear on a long slender stem that measures 10 to 20 inches long. Each stem is lined with pinnae which appears opposite of each other. There may be 4 to 6 pairs of pinnae, but as the tree grows this can increase to 20 to 30 pairs. The individual pinnae vary from 2-4 inches long. Each pinna is lined with 10-20 leaflets and each leaflet is 3/8 inches long. The leaves are fern-like and give the tree the appearance of being light and feathery. When it rains and during the night the leaves close downward. In the fall the leaves do not change color, and they typically fall to the ground after the first frost.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    The bark is light brown to gray and smooth. The wood is weak and brittle. The bark of young stems are bright green turning light brown and covered with lenticels as they age.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Scaly
    Stem Bud Scales:
    Enclosed in 2 scales
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Lenticels:
    Conspicuous
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The young stems are lime green in color and later change to light brown. They are covered with lenticels. The wood is weak and brittle.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Lawn
    Riparian
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Flowering Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Heat
    Poor Soil
    Salt
    Wind
    Problems:
    Invasive Species
    Messy
    Problem for Dogs
    Short-lived
    Weak Wood
    Weedy