The term mimosa commonly refers to a shrub belonging to the genus of acacias, in particular the acacia dealbata, whose small yellow flowers are usually given to women on the day of their feast.
The Mimosas are large shrubs, or even small trees, belonging to the genus of the fabaeae; are now widespread in the wild in most of the Italian peninsula and the Mediterranean, but have distant origins, in fact they are plants originating from Australia, from which they were imported in past centuries. The use of mimosa branches for Women's Day is simply due to the fact that these plants produce flowers in profusion towards the end of winter and it is therefore easy to get them on Women's Day, 8 March.
Those commonly known as mimosa flowers are actually spherical inflorescences, which bring together very small, very decorative, intensely scented canary-yellow flowers; the flowers are produced at the apex of the branches, on the thinnest twigs, and bloom in succession, starting from those closest to the stem. The flowering of the mimosa can last a few weeks and begins with the first days that are slightly long and not too cold, from January until March; in places with mild winters the mimosas produce flowers as early as the beginning of January, while in the cooler areas the flowering starts from the second half of February.
Acacia dealbata, popularly called mimosa, is a tree that, although not native, is now widespread in our country both in cultivation and as spontaneous, especially in areas with a mild climate. It is in fact fully a characterizing element of the Ligurian Riviera, of the shores of the great lakes and of all the coasts of our country. Although it has become a little invasive, it must be admitted that its cheerful and fragrant flowering reveals itself every year an inevitable symbol of the arrival of spring, giving vivacity to the landscape and awakening the first insect pollinators.
On the Riviera di Ponente it is also widely grown and harvested for horticultural purposes: its request increases exponentially on 8 March, Women's Day, to which it is inextricably linked.
Characteristics of the mimosa
The mimosa is native to Australia (which still considers it a national symbol). In particular the dealbacian acacia is endemic to the temperate and fertile Tasmania.
The subfamily of the Mimosaceae (belonging to the Leguminosae family) includes about 450 species of acacias mostly originating from the tropical and subtropical regions of Oceania, Asia, Africa and the American continent. They are mostly trees, but those that form beautiful bushes or have a climbing habit are not rare.
They came to Europe in the early nineteenth century and spread very quickly, given their adaptability and often vigorous growth (some can reach 8 meters in height in the first year of life!). They are however short-lived plants and are often irreparably damaged by anomalous frosts.
The acacia dealbata occurs mostly as a tree or shrub. It is characterized by a beautiful persistent foliage: the leaves are bipinnate, up to 12 cm long and formed by 15-20 elements, in turn divided into 30-50 silvery gray leaves, similar to feathers. The branches may be more or less spiny. The flowers appear at the end of winter (February-April): they are grouped into panicles comprising 10 to 200 flower heads of globose and soft shape, with yellow-golden or white, very perfumed stamens. The fruits are collected in pods that ripen from mid-summer to the end of spring.
This type of shrub needs a mild climate to be cultivated outdoors, as it fears frost, especially if prolonged and of high intensity; therefore in areas with very cold winters the mimosas are cultivated in pots or in a cold greenhouse. They still need a good fresh, well-drained but not stony or sandy soil; they prefer a good rich universal soil, mixed with organic fertilizer and small amounts of pumice stone, which guarantees the rapid flow of water.
It is a shrub that in nature easily reaches 4-5 meters in height, therefore in cultivating the mimosa let us remember to use large and capacious containers, and pruned regularly after flowering, to avoid excessive development.
They need regular and frequent watering, which keep the soil always slightly damp; therefore from March to October the waterings will be very frequent, and we will intensify the supply of water during the hottest months of the year. During the autumn and winter months, on the other hand, watering can be almost nil, although it is good to check the soil at the foot of the plant to prevent it from remaining dry for excessively long periods of time. The mimosas in fact fear the drought, so we will have to prevent the plant from remaining completely dry, especially during the warm months, but also in winter; we pay particular attention to specimens grown in pots, since the soil it contains can completely dry up in a very short period of time.
MIMOSA IN BRIEF
|Type of plant||Tree, shrub or flowering creeper|
|Foliage||Erected or groundcover|
|Height at maturity||10 meters and more|
|soil pH||From subacid to acid (those grafted also tolerate basic soils)|
|Rusticitа||From fragile to semirustic (at most -5 ° C)|
|Use||Isolated specimen, groups, hedges, vase|
THE CALENDAR OF MIMOSA
|Flowering and harvesting||February-April|
|plant||Autumn (Center-South), Spring (North)|
|graft||From June to mid-September|
|Home shelter and / or mulch||Early November|