Last week we traveled up central North Carolina and Virginia and back to visit friends for a shared birthday celebration. I choose not to include the years that my friend Sam and I have been celebrating birthdays; we are just grateful to still be celebrating.
As we drove, I couldn’t help but notice the wildflowers along the highway that were so prolific and beautiful. Seemingly everywhere in bloom were verbascum (just opening), white daisies of various sorts, Queen Anne’s lace, black eyed susans, corn flowers, various thistles, a few butterfly weeds, and a host of smaller contributors. One plant that stood out throughout the journey was the mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin). It was almost impossible to be anywhere along the highway that a mimosa tree was not in view. They are indeed living up to their reputation as an exotic invasive, and I was struck with how truly widespread they have become…at least in our part of the country.
Mimosas seem to be everywhere in our community and for the past month have been particularly beautiful. Many homes have well established specimens, but I do see mimosas creating colonies along roads and fields. I delight in their beauty, but I am not happy that I continue to find young seedlings appearing in my garden. Could the mimosa in the back of my neighbor’s house be the source? Fortunately the seedlings are easy to recognize and pull up if identified early enough.
I wrote about mimosa and its invasive habits in Guess What’s in My Garden!:
“Mimosa is one of those trees introduced into the United States by plant explorers from exotic places around the world, in this case in the eighteenth century. The reason is obvious; here is a lovely, spreading ornamental tree that has dense inflorescences of beautiful flowers, extremely attractive to hummingbirds. It would enhance any garden. Who wouldn’t want one? But once again we come face to face with the Law of Unintended Consequences.”
I will be content to view mimosas in bloom from a distance. In the meantime I can enjoy a mimosa on my screen porch…I like the combination of orange juice and champagne.
Happy Birthday! I too had a birthday this past week. When I was growing up we had a mimosa tree in our front yard. Loved to play with the soft flowers and strip the leaves off the stems. It is too bad they and so many old favorites are becoming invasive. Enjoying yours in a glass seems like a good idea.
The mimosa blossom is truly unique in form. No wonder you liked to play with them. Your birthday wouldn’t have been on the !0th perhaps?