Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Puerto Rico Sensitive-Briar
Mimosa asperata

Family: Mimosaceae
Genus: Mimosa (mim-MOH-suh) (Info)
Species: asperata (as-per-AH-tuh) (Info)

Alpines and Rock Gardens
Tropicals and Tender Perennials

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall
Late Fall/Early Winter

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)
8.6 to 9.0 (strongly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


No positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral htop On Mar 1, 2009, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant. Puerto Rico Sensitive-Briar (Mimosa asperata, synonyms: Mimosa pigra var. berlandieri, Mimosa berlandieri) is also commonly known as zarza, black mimosa, coatante, chaven and espina de vaca. It is native to the lower Rio Grande region of Texas (Cameron, Hidalgo counties), Mexico (Chiapas, Sinaloa, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Nayarit, Veracruz), Belize, Brazil, Cuba, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Puerto Rico. It can be found on seasonal wet areas of clay soils in otherwise dry lake beds, large river floodplains, edges of marshes and low lying marshy areas of pastures. Black mimosa tolerates a wide variety of soil conditions and withstands short-term flooding as well as seasonal drought.

Mimosa asperata is a densely-branched shrub which has branches and leaves armed with flattened, stiff, recurved prickles which can form form impenetreble thickets. The bark is smooth and reddish brown and it has slightly pubescent to downy twigs. It has "bipinnately compound leaves. Each leaf has four to 14 pairs of pinnae and 20 to 40 pairs of linear-oblong leaflets per pinna. The inflorescences are tight, subglobose mauve or pink heads with about 100 flowers, grouped one tothree in the upper axils. The clustered brown legumes are densely bristled, 4 to 12 cm long, and breaking transversally into 14 to 26 segments, each containing one seed. The seeds are flattened, about 6 by 2.5 mm, and brown to olive green." (John K. Francis, Research Forester, U.S.Department of Agruiculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry, Jardín Botánico Sur, 1201 Calle Ceiba, San Juan PR 00926-1119, in cooperation with the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, PR 00936-4984; found on US Forest Service Website) The plant has been employed as a cover crop and green manure, a fuel wood, and as a source for beanpoles.

The other varieties Mimosa asperata var. pigra (Synonym: Mimosa pigra var. pigra) that grows from Mexico to Argentina, Africa and other invaded ranges in the New and Old Worlds. It is much more invasive.

Note: There is some confusion about this plant's scientific name. Wikipedia gives the following account:

"Mimosa pigra was first identified by Linnaeus[5], who also named a separate species Mimosa asperata, on the basis of its different leaf morphology. Mimosa pigra was described as having an erect prickle between the pinnae and Mimosa asperata as having prickles in opposite pairs between the pinnae.[6] Further research showed that both leaf forms can occur on the same plant, and consequently both species were united under the name Mimosa asperata asperata, and later on, renamed Mimosa pigra. The scientific name remains Mimosa pigra."

The USDA considers it a species that is distinct from Mimosa pigra and lists Mimosa pigra var. berlandieri as a synonym with Mimosa asperata being its proper name. Thus, I am not sure which is its proper scientific name.

We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2015 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.

Hope for America