Mimosa aculeaticarpa (Catclaw Mimosa)

Scientific Name

Mimosa aculeaticarpa Ortega

Common Names

Catclaw Mimosa, Cat's Claw Mimosa, Wait-a-minute Bush


Acacia acanthocarpa, Mimosa aculeaticarpa var. aculeaticarpa, Mimosa arida, Mimosa biuncifera, Mimosa prolifica, Mimosopsis biuncifera, Mimosopsis lindheimeri

Scientific Classification

Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Mimosoideae
Tribe: Mimoseae
Genus: Mimosa


Color: White or pale pink
Bloom Time: Midsummer


Mimosa aculeaticarpa is a straggling thicket-forming shrub that usually grows up to 3.3 feet (1 m) tall but occasionally double that height. The twigs are hairy and armed with backward-pointing spines that easily catch in clothing. The alternate leaves are bi-pinnate with a varying number of small oblong leaflets. Flowers are white or pale pink, bunched together in globular heads. Fruits are flat pods, up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) long, flattened between the seeds, and split open when ripe.

Mimosa aculeaticarpa (Catclaw Mimosa)
Photo via wnmu.edu


USDA hardiness zone 3a to 10a: from −40 °F (−40 °C) to 35 °F (+1.7 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Mimosa is capable of growing in some hardy zones and can survive in temperatures as low as -10 degrees Fahrenheit (-23 degrees Celsius). Although it grows exceptionally well in bright and full sunlight, it can grow in partially shaded areas. The plant can grow on various soil types like clay, loam, and sandy soil. The soil should ideally be acidic, but mildly alkaline soil would suffice too. The plant is known to survive in droughts and hence requires little watering.

The ideal time for planting a Mimosa is during the spring on well-drained soil. As these flowering plants prefer soil acidic, it is advised that you add peat moss and composted leaves at regular intervals to maintain its acidic properties. Water the plant and soil enough, but not so much as to saturate it. Keep the area under the tree clean by sweeping away the fallen flowers and seed pods. Pruning of the branches should ideally be done during fall. This tree often tends to get infested by pests like webworm caterpillars. If affected, the branches should be removed as soon as possible to prevent any collateral damage to the plant. If not taken care of, the need to spray insecticides might arise. See more at How to Grow and Care for Mimosa.


Mimosa aculeaticarpa is endemic to upland regions of Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.


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