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Mimosa, Velvet Pod


Common Names: Velvet Pod Mimosa, Gatuno, Velvetpod Catclaw

Mimosa dysocarpa

Fabaceae (Leguminosae)

Velvet pod mimosa is abundant and common in the Chisos and Davis Mountains of the Trans-Pecos on brushy hillsides from 2500 to 6500 feet, and occurs north into New Mexico and Arizona and south to Mexico. Numerous short, widely divergent, irregular but densely prickly branches bear pubescent (downy) bipinnate leaves and extremely showy, fragrant, pinkish-purple cylindrical flower spikes. Small prickles also appear on leaf axils.
As the 1- to 2-inch-long, marginally prickly, constricted fruit matures in late August, it develops a reddish brown tomentose (velvety) surface. Hence its common name. Velvet pod mimosa tolerates extreme drought and reflected heat, and has ornamental possibilities as a handsome accent plant. The seeds are relished by Gambel's and scaled quail and the leaves are occasionally browsed by livestock. There is a variety called Wright velvet pod mimosa, Mimosa dysocarpa var. wrightii, which has narrow pods, mostly unarmed and with smoother leaves. But there are many intergrading forms between this variety and the species.


Blooming Habits: The velvet pod mimosa blooms in late summer. The flowers in fuzzy catkins, are magenta when they open and turn pink and then white as they age. The catkins are elongated, up to 2 inches long. They are followed by fuzzy pods

Plant Habit or Use: small shrub or medium shrub

Exposure: sun

Flower Color: pink, purple

Blooming Period: summer

Fruit Characteristics: pods or legume

Height: 3 to 6.5 feet

Width: 2 to 4 feet

Plant Character: deciduous

Heat Tolerance: very high

Water Requirements:

Soil Requirements: alkaline

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8

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