Common Names: Velvet Pod Mimosa, Gatuno, Velvetpod Catclaw
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
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
Soil Requirements: alkaline
USDA Hardiness Zone: 8
Search Library Topics Search Newspaper Columns