Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Mimosa (Silk Tree)
In one of my Living in Season newsletters, (you can sign up to get them at http://www.schooloftheseasons.com/) I asked my readers to nominate a birthday flower, that is a flower that blooms on your birthday. Linda Massey nominated the mimosa, which always bloomed in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania around her birthday, June 28.
I don’t know mimosa at all, except for the drink, but I like being able to feature flowers that are blooming in other areas. That’s why it’s so hard to develop a flower calendar. Not only are the flowers different in different parts of the world, but their names are different and their bloom dates vary from year to year.
I was confused when I went looking for mimosas as apparently this name is applied to many different flowers. There are yellow mimosas that are really acacias that bloom in early winter (January and February) and smell incredibly fragrant.
But I believe the mimosa that Linda knows is also called a silk tree (Albizia julibrissin). It’s a member of the Pea family and produces fragrant pink flowers in June, which look like little fireworks. It’s native to Iran, Japan and China. Here’s a web site that features many wonderful photos and a thorough description of the silk tree:
This article features the Mimosas of Texas with great photographs:
And here’s a mimosa-like flower preserved in amber from about 20 to 25 millions years ago:
You never know what you’re going to find on the web while looking for mimosa. I found a web site for Jeanne Rose, who was the author of the first contemporary book of herbal lore that I read (I have a copy from 1978 of her Herbs & Things.). Apparently she teaches classes in aromatherapy and herbal studies.
I got the illustration of a humming bird feeding on a mimosa (but which one?) from this website: