The Sugary Gloss of Persian Mimosa Floss - Albizia julibrissin

 |Albizia julibrissin filaments|

|Albizia julibrissin filaments|

My last post created a bit of controversy!  I featured a plant called Tamarix ramosissima.  I got quite a few comments about how some people see it as nasty weed.  One thing you should know dear reader, is that one person's weed is another person's wonder.  When it comes to my love of plants, I often fall into the later category.  Plant life is my drug, my addiction.  As a result, much of my taste, when it comes to plants, is on the provocative side.  Sometimes beauty isn't always pretty or well behaved, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be fascinated by what it displays. Such is the case of this post.  First, I want to kick things off with the above image. What you are experiencing above is a visual explosion of silky stamens from the flowers of Albizia julibrissin also known as Mimosa, Silk-Tree, or Persian Silk Tree.

 |Albizia julibrissin foliage|

|Albizia julibrissin foliage|

Here we have another case of one person's weed and another person's wonder. Albizia julibrisson is native to Persia and Asia.  It is a deciduous tree known for its lushly tropical, fashionably fern-like, bipinnate foliage and its ethereal eruption of diaphanously delicate floss-like flowers, which burst forth in late spring from clustering constellations of delicate buds.  One cool feature to note is that this tree folds it foliage closed at night or during long periods of rain.  It's a tree of many moods...I love that concept!

 |Albizia julibrissin buds|

|Albizia julibrissin buds|

I recently came across one of these trees in my neighborhood while walking Lulu.

 |The Late Lulu Chillin'|

|The Late Lulu Chillin'|

Ironically, it wasn't the display of candy floss flowers that immediately caught my attention.  It was the fragrance in the air that wrapped around me and lifted my senses upward.  You see the flowers have a very delicate, soft gardenia/jasmine like fragrance.  When they are blooming en masse the scent is absolutely captivating! Makes you feel like you're in mysterious locale a million miles away that smells exotically sensual; beckoning you to lose yourself in paradise.

 |Albizia julibrissin form + bud + flower|

|Albizia julibrissin form + bud + flower|

Albizia julibrissin can grow up to 40 feet tall, with a broad fleecy canopy reminiscent of the iconic trees one can see growing in the Serengeti.  This deciduous tree likes full sun or part shade conditions, summer heat, regular water, well-draining soil, and is hardy down to around 10 degrees fahrenheit/-12 degrees celsius.

Now, Albizia julibrissin can be weedy in some areas.  After flowering, it produces flattened bean-like pods filled with seeds.  If the conditions are favorable you can expect a lot of seedlings from fallen seed.  However, in a place like Los Angeles, this tree seems to be kept in check.  Discovering this tree the other day on my walk through the cityscape of Silver Lake was like stumbling into an oasis in paradise. Weed or wonder, the beautiful benefits of this tree are certainly worth experiencing.