December 13, 2017

Silk Tree

Albizia julibrissin - mimosa or silk tree

James Purkey Photo | Albizia julibrissin - mimosa or silk tree

Albizia julibrissin - mimosa or silk tree

James Purkey Photo | Albizia julibrissin - mimosa or silk tree

THE WEEKEND EDITION (So big it covers two days)

Long ago, probably on a slow boat from China, came this tree, the mimosa or silk tree. It arrived in America from China in 1745, according to a University of Florida site. It was grown then and now as an ornamental, which is no surprise, given its striking, fragrant flowers. Pictured are mimosas in Tennessee, with photographs taken by James Purkey. He says the tree pictured is between 20 and 25 feet tall and the variety is a fairly common sight. Albizia julibrissin, its botanical tongue-twisting name, is hardy to Zone 6b, which is still not winter-hardy in Maine where we just hit 6a in some tiny swatches along the southern coast. Interestingly, in Florida, this member of the legume family is considered an invasive plant, where they recommend everything from cutting them down to pesticides (really bad ones) to do them in. Funny how recommending toxic chemicals – which will poison the ground to other plants and humans, too – is considered better than letting a tree grow that’s been in the country for more than 250 years. We’re just saying.

Albizia julibrissin - mimosa or silk tree

James Purkey Photo | Albizia julibrissin - mimosa or silk tree