On this crisp fall day, this sprawling short tree sways in the breeze in my neighborhood with its sensitive rows of leaves. Below is the specimen on my street, with young seed pods after dropping its pink flowers.
Below is what the tree looks like in bloom.
(Photo credit: Famartin)
Several interesting things about this tree. It originates in Korea and China. Because it is determined to be an invasive plant in Florida and loves warmth, I began to wonder how it could withstand our Pacific NW windstorms and winters? Looking further, it turns out there is a variety called the Pink Silk Tree (Albizia julibrissin f. rosea) that can stand -25 degrees! Must be “my” tree.
The sensitivity of the leaflets of this plant are amazing. I have seen them turn to sleep as the sun goes down and the air cools. But a close relative of this tree demonstrates incredible motion in reaction to touch and heat. Check out these cool videos of the “Sensitive Plant” from Brazil. Scientists are recognizing more and more how plants communicate and sense their world (read What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses), but the Mimosa is probably the most visual of all examples.