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Mimosa asperata

Mimosa asperata L.

Black Mimosa, Chaven, Coatante, Espina de Vaca, Puerto Rico Sensitive-briar, Zarza

Fabaceae (Pea family)

Synonym(s): Mimosa pigra var. berlandieri

USDA Symbol: MIAS3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

"Broad-crowned free-standing or, when crowded, semiscandent shrubs (1-) 1.5-3.5 (-5) m, erratically armed on internodes and on interpinnal segments of Ieaf rachis with perpendicular straight, laterally compressed, broad-based, early blanched aculei to (2.5-) 4-1 1 x 2-6 mm (some young branchlets of some plants unarmed), the new stems, leaf-stks and peduncles at once densely minutely gray-puberulent and either strigulose or hirsute with shorter subappressed or longer spreading-ascending, straight or flexuous, pallid or tawny setae to (0.5-) 1-3 (-6.5) mm long and 0.05-0.2 mm diam. at base, the crowded subconcolorous leaflets glabrous above, finely minutely silky-strigulose beneath, finely remotely setoseciliolate, the pseudo-racemose inflorescence of globose or ellipsoid capitula exserted up to 2 dm in early anthesis, but each fascicle of peduncles subtended by a hysteranthous leaf, the fruits axillary to these, immersed in foliage. Stipules ascending, firm, lance-ovate or ligulate 2-6 x 1-2 mm, gray-pubemlent or rarely glabrate dorsally, glabrous castaneous within, striately 6-9-nerved from base, tardily deciduous." (bibref: 1811).

"Zarza is a mimosa preferring the seasonal wet areas of clay soils in otherwise dry lake beds and lower areas at the edges of water courses or resacas, usually in the lower Rio Grande in Cameron and Hidalgo counties, and into Mexico. It is less common along the coast farther north. It is a densely-branched shrub forming impenetreble thickets whose branches and leaves are viciously armed with stiff, flattened, recurved prickles. The smooth reddish-brown bark has many lenticils and twigs are slightly pubescent to downy. The 1/2-inch-thick flowers are pink globes." (webref: 1).


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Bipinnate
Size Notes: 3 to 9 feet in height, 2 to 5 feet in width. (webref: 1).
Leaf: "Leaf-stalks 2.5-7 (-9.5) cm, the petiole including (or sometimes reduced to) pulvinus 2-9 (-11) x 0.7-1.2 mm, the longer interpinnal segments (5-) 6-12 (-14) mm, the ventral groove bridged between pinnapairs and there charged with an ascending, commonly vulnerant, yellowish spicule (0.5-) 1.8- 9 (-15) mm; pinnae of leaves below inflorescence 4-7 (-8) juga, decrescent proximally, the rachis of longer ones 1.5-3 (-3.5, in one instance 4) cm, the interfoliolar segments 0.6-1.6 (-2) mm; leaflets of longer pinnae 22-33 juga, decrescent at each end of rachis, the small first pair less than 1 mm distant from minute conic-subulate paraphyllidia less than 0.3 mm (often concealed by setae), the blades linear from obtusangulate or bluntly auriculate base, acute or apiculate at tip, those near mid-rachis (3.5-) 4-9.5 x 0.7-1.2 mm, (4-) 4.5-7 (-8) times as long as wide, all veinless or almost so above, beneath 3-4 (-6)-nerved from pulvinule, the slenderly prominulous nerves all parallel, the midrib a little forwardly displaced, the outermost nerves submarginal and produced to blade apex." (bibref: 1811).
Flower: "Peduncles solitary and 2-4 (-6) together, (10-) 14-3 3 mm; capitula without filaments 5.5-8 mm diam., prior to anthesis moriform, the obtuse 4-ribbed flower buds scaberulous-strigulose distally, sometimes only minutely so, the narrowly clavate receptacle (2.5-) 3-6 mm; bracts oblanceolate 0.6-1.1 mm, deciduous; flowers 4-merous 8-androus, subheteromorphic, the lowest staminate, shorter and more broadly turbinate than the vase-shaped bisexual upper ones; calyx turbinate-campanulate or patelliform, including the variably fimbriolate-denticulate orifice 0.4-0.7 (-0.8) mm, glabrous externally; corolla (1.9-) 2.3-3.2 (-3.5) mm, the ovate, scarcely thickened 1-nerved lobes (0.7-) 0.9-1.3 x 0.7-1.2 mm; filaments pink fading whitish, united at very base into a stemonozone 0.3-0.55 mm, exserted 2.5-5 (-7) mm; ovary at anthesis either glabrous or pilosulous." (bibref: 1811).
Fruit: "Pods 1-3 (-5) per capitulum, ascending from mid-capitulum upward, stipitate or subsessile, the stipe attaining 5 (-7) mm but usually less, the broad-linear, straight or slightly curved body (30-) 40-75 x 9-11 (-13) mm, when well fertilized 8-14 (-15)-seeded, the body broadly or narrowly cuneate at base, at apex broadly rounded but mucronulate or cuspidate, the almost straight replum 0.5-0.9 (-1) mm wide, the reddish-brown or finally nigrescent valves low-convex over the horizontally transverse seeds, the replum and valves alike either minutely puberulent or not so and either strigose with slender subappressed-ascending setae or hirsute with vertically erect ones to 0.7-2 mm, these not concealing the often lustrous surface of valves, the ripe valves breaking up into free-falling, individually indehiscent, transversely oblong articles 4-7.5 mm long, each sealed at either end by a pithy septum 0.5-0.9 mm wide; seeds compressed-oblong-ellipsoid 5.5-7 x 2.5-3 mm, the testa smooth, dull brown or brown-olivaceous." (bibref: 1811).

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov
Bloom Notes: "Flowering and fruiting almost throughout the year." (bifref: 1811).


Native Distribution: "In warm temperate and tropical North America: Gulf Coastal Plain from the mouth of Guadelupe River in Calhoun Co., Texas, to Veracruz and Tabasco, thence south to Belize and adjacent Guatemala (Peten); on the Pacific coastal plain in Mexico, from lower Rio Fuerte in north Sinaloa south into Nayarit; one record from Nicaragua; one population in western Cuba (Pinar del Rio)." (bibref: 1811). "Usually in the lower Rio Grande in Cameron and Hidalgo counties, and into Mexico." (bibref: 1). Texas, Mexico, Central America and Cuba. (webref: 6).
Native Habitat: "In low, seasonally wet places, on river-banks and bars, at edge of lagoons, along ditches, sometimes in standing water, discontinuously dispersed, below 250 m." (bibref: 1811). On "seasonal wet areas of clay soils in otherwise dry lake beds and lower areas at the edges of water courses or resacas." (bibref: 1).

Web Reference

Webref 6 - Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database] (2018) USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program, National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.
Webref 1 - Texas Native Shrubs (2002) Texas A&M University Agriculture Program and Leslie Finical, Dallas Arboretum

Research Literature

Reslit 2886 - Legumes of the United States. IV. Mimosa (1971) Duane Isely

This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature

Additional resources

USDA: Find Mimosa asperata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Mimosa asperata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Mimosa asperata


Record Modified: 2020-12-07
Research By: JAM

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