Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Mimosa dysocarpa, Velvetpod Mimosa

Velvetpod Mimosa has large showy pink, pink-purplish to magenta flowers. The flowers are up to 2 inches (50 mm) long. The flowers fade to whitish or pinkish after maturity. Flowers have a slight fragrance. Fruits are a Legume pod often constricted between seeds. Mimosa dysocarpaVelvetpod Mimosa flowers are on a short cylindrical plume inforescence. The showy flowers, up to 2 (50 mm) inches long, range from pink to magenta. As shown in the photo the flowers fade from pinkish or purple to white. Mimosa dysocarpaVelvetpod Mimosa flowers, up to 20 or more in dense heads with exerted stamen. Individual heads are in synchronous bloom. Flowers bloom from May to September with fruiting soon thereafter. Mimosa dysocarpaVelvetpod Mimosa is a shrub with multiple short dense branches and stems. The stems have many spines in groups of 3 or 4. The leaves “close” when touched like "Sensitive Briar, M. roemeriana", leaves linear-lanceolate. Mimosa dysocarpaVelvetpod Mimosa are common along brushy slopes, arroyos, washes and roads as shown in the photo.  It is a rare species in the United States, Mimosa dysocarpa is native to Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Mimosa dysocarpa

Scientific Name: Mimosa dysocarpa
Common Name: Velvetpod Mimosa

Also Called: Velvet-Pod Mimosa, Spanish: Gatuño, Gato

Family: Fabaceae or Leguminosae Family

Synonyms: (Mimosa dysocarpa var. wrightii)

Status: Native

Duration: Perennial

Size: Usually 3 or 4 feet tall more (1 or 1.21 m)

Growth Form: Shrub; multiple short dense branches/stems, stems with many spines in groups of 3, maturing stems straw-colored to gray, becoming 3-sided or striated

Leaves: Green; deciduous; alternate, pubescent, hairy, bipinnately compound, 16 to 20 leaflets, leaves "close" when touched similar to "Sensitive Briar, M. roemeriana", leaves linear-lanceolate.

Flower Color: Pink, pinkish-purple to magenta; showy up to 2 inches (50 mm) long, flowers fade as they mature to pinkish or white; light fragrance, inflorescence a short cylindrical plume, flowers 20 or more in dense heads with exerted stamens, flowers in synchronism bloom; fruit is a pod with thick walls, strongly coiled and often constricted between seeds.

Flowering Season: May to September, June through September in Texas.

Elevation: 3,500 to 6,500 feet (1066 to 1981 m).

Habitat Preferences: Common along brushy slopes, arroyos and washes.

Recorded Range: A rare species in the United States, Mimosa dysocarpa is native to Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. In Arizona it occurs in the southern counties of Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise; in New Mexico in the extreme southwestern part of the state and also in Socorro County; and in Texas it is found east of the Rio Grande River in the counties of Jeff Davis, Presidio and Brewster. Velvet Mimosa is common in northern Mexico.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Mimosa dysocarpa.

U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.

Genus Information: In North America there are 22 species for Mimosa. Most native Mimosa are found in Texas. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 708 accepted species names and a further 344 scientific names of infra-specific rank for the genus.
The genus Mimosa is closely related to Acacia and Albizia, the differences are its flowers which are reported to have 10 or fewer stamen per flower.

In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 5 species of genus Mimosa, California has 0 species, Nevada has 1 species, New Mexico has 6 species, Texas has 17 species, Utah has 1 species. All data approximate and subject to revision.

Comments: Without a doubt Velvetpod Mimosa is one of the southwests beautiful plants with its spikes of purplish and pink flowers. Velvetpod Mimosa is very similar to Catclaw Mimosa, Mimosa aculeaticarpa as both species are armed with sharp prickles. Velvetpod Mimosa has larger and more showy elongated flowers.
According Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center the plants "are extremely drought tolerant and regular pruning encourages growth of more branches and flowers".

Also see in Southwest Desert Flora; Catclaw Mimosa, Mimosa aculeaticarpa biuncifera and Roemer's Mimosa, Mimosa roemeriana.

Importance to Wildlife and Livestock
Seeds of Velvetpod Mimosa, (Mimosa dysocarpa) are readily eaten by Gambel's and Scaled Quail and other ground dwelling birds. The leaves of this species are said to be marginal for livestock.
The dense thickets provide excellent cover value to both small rodents, quail and other ground birds.

The genus Mimosa is from the Greek word "mimos", an actor or mime and the suffix "osa" meaning resembling", a reference to rapidly closing leaves which appears to "mimic" conscious life.
The origin and meaning of the species epithet dysocarpa is unknown.

No information available.

Date Profile Completed: 09/01/2015, updated 09/14/2015, updated 11/13/2019
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
Kearney and Peebles 1969, on-line, SEINet, (accessed 11/12/2019)
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 10/09/2019)
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 11/02/2019).
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet [accessed: 09/01/2015]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center at Uvalde: (accessed: 10/12/2019)
Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness; Western New Mexico University Department of Natural Sciences and the Dale A. Zimmerman Herbarium (accessed 11/12/2019).
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names, recorded geographic locations and general information
Wikipedia contributors, 'Mimosa', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 11 May 2019, 19:28 UTC, [accessed 3 November 2019]