The flower, the form, the fragrance; this tree has it all. If only it could take a little more cold. The Mimosa, Silk tree, or Albizia julibrissin, is a small deciduous tree growing 20 to 35 feet (12 m) tall, with a broad and flat-topped spread that is usually the excess of its height. The smooth bark is a greenish-grey and the leaves are dark green with 20 – 30 tiny pairs of leaflets. As delicate as the leaves are, the flowers are even more so, resembling little pink puffs. And it's hard to describe just how heavenly the fragrance of these blooms can be on a warm summer's evening.

All aspects of a Mimosa are refined, there is simply nothing coarse about it; long arching branches, tiny leaves that close at night and feathery sweet flowers. And Mimosas provide just the best kind of shade as well. They're one of the last trees to leaf out in spring, doing so just at the point when the sun has gotten a little too warm and falling at the time when the sun's warmth is most appreciated. Like all legumes they produce bean pods, and in large numbers, but even these are papery and rarely a nuisance. The sprawling form of the tree is well adapted to single story homes and won't overwhelm the structure as oaks, elms and ashes often do. If you live in a reasonably warm area, a mimosa, properly sited, will make a nice addition. In the UK, Mimosas have grown as far north as the Lake District but blooming is better closer to the southern coast. Mimosas are widely grown in Australia and the southern half of the United States.

There is a stunning purple-leaved cultivar known as Summer Chocolate, Albizia julibrissin ‘Summer Chocolate’.



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