Mimosa Tree: How to Grow and Use
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Angela Hoffort
Posted on: October 10, 2007

I just purchased some Mimosa Tree seeds from Richters. I can’t find any information about it in the Richters Information section or the Q&A section. What can you tell me about growing this tree, as well as using it?

Mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin), also known as Persian Silk Tree, is a small deciduous tree from Asia that is now cultivated as an ornamental in the United States. It is hardy in zones 7-9. It flowers from July to August; the flowers look like bunches of white hairs tinged with purple. A photo of a flowering branch can be seen at:

http://caliban.mpiz-koeln.mpg.de/~stueber/mavica/high/2500/02133.html

The tree requires well-drained soil in full sun. Dry soils are ideal because overly moist and fertile soils make the plant more frost tender. High pH, drought and high winds are okay. Like other legumes it can fix nitrogen. Where the plant is not hardy it can be grown as a summer bedding plant.

The seeds have a hard seed coat that slows germination. Soak the seeds overnight in water to soften the seed coat, or scarify the coat by rubbing with coarse sandpaper; germination takes 2-3 months otherwise. Sow indoors in pots or flats March or April. Transplant seedlings into pots when seedlings are large enough to handle. Grow in a greenhouse the first winter until plants are well enough established to plant out the following spring outdoors. Protect the first 1-2 winters outdoors.

The flowers and bark are medicinal. They are used for the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, irritability and depression. Recent studies have focussed on the effects of aqueous extracts on 5-hydroxytryptamine receptors in the brain that are linked to anxiety.

In North America liquid extracts or tinctures made with the flowers are commonly used. In China patent formulas in pill form are used. A tea made from the flowers or bark can also be taken. According to American herbalist Roy Upton, the typical dosage is 3-6 grams (dry weight) equivalent taken daily in either a powder, tea or tincture form. According to Upton and several other therbalists, there are no known adverse effects of taking mimosa at recommended doses.

For more information please see Robert Newman’s posting in the Chinese Herbs forum:

http://www.richters.com/show.cgi?page=./QandA/Chinese/20040519-3.html

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