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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Albizia julibrissin - Silk tree

The Silk tree or Mimosa tree is a fast growing small to medium deciduous tree commonly planted in Santa Cruz. Growing to 30' tall with an upright vase shape to a wide spreading umbrella habit, with horizontally layered branches on which the flowers are borne. Trees bloom in summer. They quickly lose all their foliage in fall and are late to leaf out. If you google Albizia you will see its most common websites discuss its invasiveness.





Leaves are deciduous, alternate, bipinnately compound, 18-20" long, each of the 20 or so lateral leaflets is also compound with 40 to 60 tiny 1/4" long linear leaflets.



The shade created by the foliage is nice, as is the view up into the canopy.



Flowers are beautiful and one of the reasons people plant these trees. Again, like some others in the Legume family that don't look like peas. The attractive part of individual flowers are the stamens. Individually they are small, borne in large clusters in a branched inflorescence.



Fruit is a pod, about 4-6" long, flattened and tan color. Reasonably persistent.



Misidentification:
In flower not likely, however students have a hard time with just the foliage, looking a lot like Jacaranda mimosifolia. But the Albizia leaf is shorter, as are the leaflets.

Location:
Aptos
421 Clubhouse Dr.

Capitola
1540 45th Ave

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