Table of Contents
A deciduous plant native to North Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, the Mimosa tree is known as the ‘night sleeper’ or the ‘Persian silk tree’. Most people tend to confuse the mimosa flower with the mimosa cocktail, but these are completely different.
The mimosa cocktail, which does not contain flowers (contrary to popular belief), was named after the colors of the mimosa flowers, which are bright orange yellow.
In various countries worldwide, the mimosa tree is believed to have different meanings depending on the culture and the region it’s found in.
What Are Mimosa Flowers?
Mimosa is a genus that consists of about 400 species of different shrubs and herbs. Its name comes from the Greek words ‘mimos’ meaning ‘actor’ or ‘mime’, and ‘osa’ meaning ‘resembling’. When combined, these two words perfectly describe how the flower mimics conscious life, with its leaves quickly reacting to someone’s touch. It’s also known to many as the ‘humble plant’, mainly because of how its leaves droop as soon as it detects the slightest movement.
Mimosa shrubs produce a wide range of different blooms, with yellow, pink, and white as some of the most common colors. They grow rapidly, with some reaching up to 10 meters in height. A hardy shrub, the mimosa can live for over 50 years, producing beautiful blooms between January and March.
The Symbolism of the Mimosa Flower
A very distinct tree, the mimosa has certain characteristics for which it’s valued and even revered in some parts of the world. Here’s a close look at the many interesting meanings behind this beautiful tree, and what they stand for.
1. The Strength and Sensibility of a Woman
The mimosa flower was chosen as the official symbol of International Women’s Day. The history of this day can be traced back over a hundred years, when two Italian activists, Teresa Mattei and Rita Montagna, gave mimosa branches to other women who were fighting for gender equality and women’s rights.
Every year on the 8th of March, people around the globe walk through the streets to commemorate International Women’s Day. Considered a global holiday, it aims to raise awareness about gender equality and to celebrate women’s contributions to society. Since then, giving mimosa flowers to show appreciation for women has become a tradition.
Terese Mattei said that she chose the mimosa flower to present to other women because she considered it an excellent symbol of women’s strength, sensitivity, and sensibility. Despite their fragile appearance, mimosas can grow in various environments since they’re hardy and resilient plants. They also require very little maintenance, surviving the harshest of conditions, which are considered the hallmarks of being a strong, independent woman.
3. Secret Love
Mimosa flowers, especially the yellow variety, are popular symbols of secret love. A poem entitled I Am Like a Mimosa Tree by Wade Lancaster touches on this subject, explaining how a person in love is similar to a mimosa tree, with a fragrant aroma and beautiful flowers meant for someone special. It also plays with some imagery of the tree providing shade, which is closely related to the comfort and security that a loved one can bring.
Mimosa flowers can be added to bouquets to express one’s secret love for someone special. It’s also regarded as a subtle promise to always be there for that special someone.
Considered a symbol of beauty as the result of its colorful and striking appearance, the mimosa tree is often planted in gardens for decorative purposes. Some believe that the tree’s beauty can be related to one’s personality and the way a particular individual enhances the lives of those around them with their beautiful nature.
5. Protection and Security
The tree develops branches that can cover a large area over a short period, offering shade against the harsh rays of the sun. Due to this reason, the tree is associated with security and protection.
One particular species of mimosa, known as Mimosa tenuiflora, is highly popular and valued as a result of its medicinal properties. It’s used in the pharmaceutical industries to produce certain types of drugs, providing protection against various diseases. The tree also offers protection for small animals from dangerous predators.
In some cultures around the world, the mimosa tree represents expansion and the desire to make certain changes in life. It can also be related to the expansion of various aspects of life including family, career, or any special plans.
7. Sensitivity and Tolerance
The mimosa is a sensitive tree with leaves that fold up when touched or when coldness is detected, which is why it represents sensitivity. However, it’s also extremely tolerant and can survive in unfavorable environments. As a result, it symbolizes tolerance as well as sensitivity. Some believe that seeing this tree will give them the strength and tolerance to handle any difficult situation they may find themselves in.
8. Death and Mourning
While yellow mimosa flowers are perfect expressions of love and admiration, white blooms usually symbolize death and mourning. This is especially true in Asian countries such as Japan, China, and Korea, where having white mimosas at a wedding or sending them to someone who is sick is considered extremely offensive. White mimosas are often used at funerals or when offering one’s sympathy and condolences.
Uses of Mimosa Shrubs
There is evidence that the extracts from mimosa bark and roots possess strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has a reputation in traditional medicine as an effective treatment for wounds and skin problems. In some countries, mimosa roots are used to make a warm paste which is then placed over wounds to prevent bleeding and relieve itching.
Mimosa pudica, also known as the ‘sleeping tree’, is one of the most popular varieties of mimosa. It has always been popular in traditional medicine and is believed to aid in the treatment of various health issues such as diarrhea, muscle pain, and rheumatism. Known as a powerful gut scrubber, mimosa seeds are used as the main ingredient in herbal capsules that claim to cleanse your digestive tract by removing harmful toxins and bacteria.
Some studies have shown that mimosa pudica seeds can help with mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. It’s said to help boost serotonin levels by improving gut health, preventing chemical imbalances that cause the usual symptoms of anxiety and depression – irritability, trouble sleeping, and melancholy feelings.
Caring for Mimosa Trees
Mimosa trees are often a popular choice among gardeners who want to add a pop of color to their gardens. Trees with yellow flowers are perfect for those who want something striking and eye-catching, but cultivars with white flowers are a better low-key, yet memorable option.
Since mimosa trees are resilient, they’re easy to grow and require hardly any care. However, it’s important to make sure that the tree is planted in an area that’s exposed to a lot of morning sun. Overwatering can affect the tree’s growth so it’s best to wait for it to dry out in between watering, especially if the plant is still a sapling. Soggy soil can lead to root rot and kill the plant.
The ideal fertilizer for a mimosa plant is a balanced 10:10:10 fertilizer. However, since these trees grow rapidly, over-fertilizing is not necessary. The roots of the plant can also get invasive, which is why planting it near concrete areas isn’t ideal.
Mimosa trees need to be pruned regularly, but this should begin only if the plant has been growing for a minimum of three years. Pruning should always be done during winter for ideal results and avoided in the summer. The tree should also be inspected now and then for pests and diseases.
The mimosa is an attractive flower that makes an attractive and low-maintenance addition to any garden. Because of the significance that mimosa flowers hold, they’re commonly chosen to be added to bouquets or presented as symbols of love and affection. In some parts of the world, it continues to be a respected and highly revered deciduous shrub.