Acacia pycnantha, Albixia julibrissin, Charente Maritime, Golden Wattle, Holidays in France, Mimosa, Mimosa Festival, Mimosa pudica, Persian Silk Tree, Saint-Trojan-les-Bains, Sensitive Plant, Whats on in Poitou-Charentes
There is a festival on the 15th to 17th of Feb in Saint-Trojan-les-Bains and it is based on the Mimosa flower. The festival sounds like a lot of fun and you can find more info about it by visiting Mimosa festival.
This post however is about Mimosa plants. First of all the Mimosa which is the basis of the festival is not a Mimosa at all- it is Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha), the floral emblem of Australia which is why it flowers in February – the equivalent of July in Australia.
So what is a mimosa? There are lots of different species, but one you may have heard of is the sensitive plant. This is a smallish plant which grows in hot climes and has a compound leaf, i.e a leaf which is composed of many small leaflets. The clever thing is that if this leaf is touched then all the leaflets fold together so that the leaf looks almost as if it is dead. It does this so that to grazing animals like cows the plant does not look particularly tasty with all its leaves closed down so the cow moves on and looks for something better. Consequently the plant does not get eaten and after a while the leaves open up and it can carry on as normal. The scientific name of this plant is Mimosa pudica. It has little pink fluffy flowers and here is a photograph of one which I took in Costa Rica.
Another flower which is often refered to as Mimosa is the Persian silk tree or pink silk tree Albizia julibrissin. Below is a photograph of it which I took in India, but my next door neighbour in France used to have two trees of this species in his garden and they looked very beautiful when in flower. Sadly they both succumbed to the elements- one was blown down and the other was killed by some very low temperatures. If you look carefully you can see that the leaves are similar to the true Mimosa.
This is a brief review of the Mimosa plant prompted by the forthcoming festival.
To find out more about what is on this month in Poitou-Charentes visit;