Mimosa pigra (weed)

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Mimosa pigra (click on image to enlarge it)
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Mimosa pigra seeds (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Julia Scher, USDA APHIS PPQ
Source: IPM Images

Mimosa pigra (weed) L. - (catclaw mimosa)

This species is a prickly, perennial, woody shrub native to tropical parts of South- and Central America. In Australia, South-East Asia and Africa, it is a serious invasive weed that can form tall thorny thickets. It grows mainly along waterways and wetlands, overgrowing other vegetation and blocking access to the water bodies.

The plants are fast growing and can reach a height of up to 3-6 metres, with a 1-2 m deep tap root. The leaves are fern-like, up to 20 cm long, with a thorny midrib and up to 16 pairs of leaflets. The leaflets fold up on touch and during the night. It has spherical, pinkish flower heads that produce groups of 10-20 seedpods. The seeds can float and stick to clothes. They also survive more than 20 years in the soil.