There are generally three types of Mimosas found in the Greater Slidell Metropolitan Area:
- The Mimosa Tree (Albizia julibrissin) is a lovely, exotic-looking Asian tree of medium size with dainty, fern-like leaves, pink flowers and a spreading, flattop shape. They fit in well with artificial landscaping schemes.
- There is the popular libation made of chilled champagne and juice traditionally served in a fluted glass at weddings, brunches and lawn parties.
- And finally, the Mimosa Weed, also known as Chamberbitter (Phyllanthus urinaria), a small obnoxious plant that pops up everywhere there is disturbed ground which includes most of the Greater Slidell Metropolitan Area, especially gardens.
This last item gets its nickname because it looks like a tiny Mimosa tree seedling. It has durable little seeds that can bide their time and sprout when you’ve turned your back. This summertime plant grows almost immediately into a sprawling, rangy, red-stemmed tangle that doesn’t get much more than a foot tall and spreads out to cover only a square foot or two of ground. It’s an Asian import from the tropics and has become “pantropic” to infest much of the southeastern U.S. It has become cold resistant enough to have taken a bite out of southern Illinois too.
Because the first starts of this plant look like little Mimosa trees, many people mistake them as the result of that tree’s prolific seed output. Because there are so many of them, they seem to grow from among the roots of plants we want to keep, making herbicides impossible to use, so gardeners have to give them the old hand treatment. Though sometimes it seems as though it’s darkest before the dawn, all is not lost; there are at least a couple of positive notes about the weed.
1.) Since they only seem to invade disturbed soil they have not naturalized enough to go toe-to-toe with native plants and have not escaped into truly wild places. You only find them in urban areas and in places where man has torn up the soil. 2.) This plant has long been recognized in Asia for its medicinal qualities and now Western scientists are giving serious research into using it for curing kidney stones, gallstones, liver diseases, viral infections and possibly tumors.