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What Is a Mimosa Flower?

This ray of sunshine in the middle of winter from Italy is a huge favorite for celebrating International Women's Day.

By: THURSD. | 01-02-2023 | 7 min read
Explained Special Days
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Acacia Dealbata, also known as silver wattle or mimosa flower has been one of the most characteristic crops since the beginning of flower cultivation in the San Remo area in Italy. The sunny flower, which prefers to be grown in warm, tropical landscapes originates from Asia and Africa and has been widely introduced in the hot Mediterranean temperate, is a rare but beautiful find.

What Is a Mimosa Flower?

It's time to dive deep into mimosa flower fun and see where its name actually comes from and what this flower actually is. The mimosa flower is a genus of roughly four hundred different shrubs and herbs. The name is derived from the Greek word 'mimos', which means actor or mime, while the suffix means 'resembling. This is likely because the leaves are said to mimic conscious life.

 

Yellow Mimosa flowers
Photo: Bakker

 

A mimosa flower can often overgrow and can even reach ten meters in height and live for more than fifty years. The flowering of this beautiful flower starts in January and continues until March. It is a hardy tree that can survive low temperatures but requires a lot of sunshine to fully mimosa-thrive!

The Meaning of the Mimosa Flower

Mimosa is like a ray of sunshine in the middle of winter. It will perfume your home or brighten your garden with its beautiful bright yellow color. To gift a bouquet of mimosa flowers is to deliver a message of love and friendship. It refers to sunlight and summer but symbolizes respect, elegance, dignity, and kindness. In some cultures, the mimosa flower is tied to sensitivity and thus often given as a gesture of mourning at funerals but in many eastern European countries and the United States, it is a favorite for celebrating International Women's Day.

On the other hand, the mimosa flower's meaning is also widely appreciated in the world. With Asian roots, it comes as no surprise that the mimosa flower has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. The bark, in particular, is known as a helpful tonic for cleaning the energetic pathways of the body, such as the heart and the liver.

 

Ancient medicinal uses of the mimosa flower
Photo: Unsplash

 

The flower can provide a significant spiritual boost and is known as the 'Collective Happiness Bark' in Asian cultures. But also in other cultures, such as the ancient Mayans, mimosa flowers were used to treat burns and injuries. Even today, it is still often used in homeopathic medicine, specifically to treat coughs, colds, and inflammation.

Origin of Mimosa Flowers

The mimosa is part of the Fabaceae family and grows on a flowering tree species, the acacia dealbata. There are more than 1,200 species found in various colors and shapes around the world. Mimosa is also called 'winter mimosa'.

The mimosa overgrows in many cases, and it can reach ten meters in height and live for more than fifty years. The flowering starts in January and continues until March. It is a hardy tree that can survive low temperatures ranging from -7 to -10 degrees Celsius. However, it requires a lot of sunshine. The flower is very prevalent in the regions of southern France where the number of days of sunshine, even in winter, is very high.

The African continent also has acacias typical of the savannah, which are very thorny, with less spectacular flowering, but which constitute an essential source of food for the fauna. Important to take into consideration that most mimosa flowers are native to Australia, but also from tropical and subtropical regions of Africa. The acacia was introduced in 1850 in many mild climate areas where some became naturalized. Ultimately, they are bright, beautiful, and extremely joyful yellow plants of the Mediterranean climate, making them semi-rustic.

Benefits of the Mimosa Flower

Mimosa pudica L., also known as touch-me-not, live-and-die, shame plant, and humble plant, is a prostrate or semi-erect subshrub native to tropical America and Australia, as well as India. It is armed with sharp, recurved thorns and has delicate, soft-grained leaflets that fold and droop at night or when touched and cooled. Its unusual bending motions have given it the moniker 'curiosity plant.' Given its pharmacological profile, the mimosa flower benefits are various. It seems to be a viable herbal candidate for further investigation. It primarily has pharmacological properties that are antibacterial, antivenom, antifertility, anticonvulsant, depressive, and aphrodisiac. Mimosa flower benefits for skin have been seen since ancient times since the herb has been administered topically to heal wounds as well as urogenital disorders, piles, dysentery, and sinuses.

 

Medicinal uses of mimosa flowers
Photo: Gaia Herbs

 

Traditionally, the mimosa plant is used as an antidote for snake and scorpion bites. The root of the plant is chewed and the paste of the root is applied as a poultice on the bitten area. The stem and leaves are used for treating scorpion stings, to treat the paste of the whole plant is applied. The root is also used for treating menstrual problems and also toothache. Toe infections can be treated by washing the legs with touch me not plant leaf decoction. It is also used for treating piles, dysentery, and intestinal worms.

Difference Between Mimosa Hostilis and Mimosa Pudica Flower

Mimosa hostilis and Mimosa pudica differ significantly in that Mimosa hostilis do not exhibit nyctinastic movement (a sleeping phase) upon touch, whereas Mimosa pudica does. The Mimosa hostilis flower, also known as Mimosa tenuiflora, is a tree that is native to northeastern Brazil and has gained notoriety for its root bark over time. One of the key components of Ayahuasca, a shamanic concoction with extremely potent hallucinogenic effects, is the root bark of this plant.

On the other hand, Mimosa pudica, also called the 'humble plant', is a plant belonging to the pea family (Fabaceae) that responds to touch and other stimulation by rapidly closing its leaves and drooping. Native to South and Central America, the plant is a widespread weed in tropical regions and has naturalized elsewhere in warm areas.

The Cultivation of the Mimosa Flower in Italy

According to Adomex, decoration greens, and cut foliage specialist, in the first decades of the twentieth century, the cultivation of the mimosa flower spread in the valleys of the Ligurian Riviera di Ponente and comes from the nearby French Côte d’Azur. Even today, mimosa flowers characterize this corner of the Mediterranean, which has an ideal climate for it.

 

Cultivation of the mimosa flower
Photo: Italy Rome Tour

 

The production of this yellow Italian mimosa flower covers a total area of about 350 hectares (mainly in the valleys of Valle Nervia, Vallecrosia, and Valle Argentina). It is said there are more than 1,600 companies that grow mimosa flowers in the province of Imperia.

 

The origin of the mimosa flower
Photo: Unsplash

 

To fully thrive and survive, the mimosa flower needs a mild climate all year round and prefers warm and sunny places. They can withstand temperatures all the way down to -5° Celsius without suffering irreparable damage. In the Riviera di Ponente, the climate to grow mimosas is ideal, as winters are mild and temperatures rarely drop below freezing.

Why Does the Mimosa Flower Represent International Women’s Day?

Since 1977, March 8 has been observed as International Women's Day, a day set aside by the UN to recognize the contributions women have made to society. Giving a mimosa bud or little bouquet to a woman is customary in Italy.

International Women's Day's history contains a number of significant beginnings. The devastating Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York, which happened in 1911 and killed 146 garment workers—123 women and girls and 23 men—is supposed to be remembered on this day. Italian and Jewish immigrant women and girls, ages 14 to 23, made up the majority of the victims. In addition, two other significant international events are remembered on this day: a strike by female garment workers on March 8, 1857, in New York, which resulted in the establishment of the first women's union in the US, and a strike by Russian women on the same day in 1917.

 

Mimosa flowers for international womens day
Photo: Arugula Tango

 

Mimosas are the flowers that symbolize International Women's Day. They were chosen as a powerful emblem for Women's Day by feminists in Italy. To commemorate the inaugural International Women's Day following the end of World War II, they chose the flower in 1946. which at this time feels much more relevant.

This International Women's Day, give the significant women in your lives give mimosa flowers as a stunning gift. They are a lovely emblem of femininity and womanhood. If they don't like yellow, a charming little bouquet in one of our jam jars is an equally thoughtful alternative. Choose from one of our pre-made arrangements or from the shop's selection of flowers, and our florists will create something extra-special.

Are you a declared fan of mimosa flowers yet?

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