Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Sensitive Briar, Sensitive Vine Littleleaf Mimosa
Mimosa microphylla

Family: Mimosaceae
Genus: Mimosa (mim-MOH-suh) (Info)
Species: microphylla (my-kro-FIL-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Leptoglottis angustisiliqua
Synonym:Leptoglottis microphylla
Synonym:Mimosa quadrivalis var. angustata
Synonym:Schrankia microphylla

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
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)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

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

Bloom Color:
Magenta (Pink-Purple)

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 8 photos.
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1 positive
2 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive rosmaire On Jul 14, 2010, rosmaire from Covington, GA wrote:

I like it. It grows in my meadow mostly along the border with the woods. Very pretty.

Negative Ret_Sgt_Yates On Jun 26, 2010, Ret_Sgt_Yates from Sparta , TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

I Do NOT Like this Plant and Have plenty of them dont recomend them to any one they spread like fire ants and are just as Bad ;>(

So Said The Sarge

Neutral htop On Jul 26, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have only seen this plant in its native environment so I am unable to evaluate it. Unlike the mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin) which originally occurred from Iran to Japan and now can be found across North America, littleleaf mimosa is a native plant found in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. It is considered "very rare" and subject to possible extirpation in Virginia. It inhabits mostly sandy or silty soils of woodland openings, prairies, and grasslands.

This is a perennial herbaceous vine that has a taproot and has 3 to 6 foot stems. Sometimes it grows along the ground and over other plants. Other times it finds vertical support such as a fence. The leaves are are doubly compound; that is, the petioles come off the stems and are divided into leaflets that, in turn, are divided into subleaflets. These subleaflets are less than 1/4 of an inch long and are prominently veined on the lower surface.

Along the main vine, on the midrib of the main leaf petiole and on the flower stalk are 1/8 inch long decurved thorns which are very sharp. Any touching of the leaves or strong vibration near the plant produces a reaction that causes the the leaflets to point away from the main vine as the subleaflets fold together. Thus, the spines are exposed which protects the plant from herbivores.

The 1/2 to 3/4 an inch in diameter globe-like flower clusters occur along the stem at the tip of leafless stalks. Each cluster consists of many individual flowers which have sets of five petals that are fused into tubes, long anther stalks and multiple stamens. At the ends of the stamens are teensy "dots" that carry pollen at their tips. The rows of tiny seeds are located in 3" to 6" awl-shaped spiny pods. In its root nodes are bacteria which collect nitrogen which is released into the soil.

Negative Farmerdill On Aug 27, 2004, Farmerdill from Augusta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

It is a pretty weed, but it is a nuisance in borders. Hard to pull and it is sticky. Fairly easily controlled in cultivated areas. They grow by the thousands or as the old folks would say "thick as the hair on a dog's back"

Neutral crimsontsavo On Jul 11, 2004, crimsontsavo from Crossville, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

These grow all over here in Panama City/Bay County Florida. They are 'weeds" that pack a big punch. If you dare tred on them barefoot- watch out- those stickers are small but painful!!!
Looks very pretty in a container or in a rock garden. Would be interesting to see it as a hanging plant.
Does not transplant very well as the taproot goes down very far for such a delicate looking plant. Would be best to collect seeds and grow from there.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Pelham, Alabama
Fountain, Florida
Lake City, Florida
Augusta, Georgia
Covington, Georgia
Mcdonough, Georgia
Wilmington, North Carolina
Claremore, Oklahoma
Sparta, Tennessee
Bastrop, Texas
Lufkin, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)

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