3 Foolproof ways to Identify Mimosa Tenuiflora – Hostilis

3 Foolproof ways to Identify Mimosa Tenuiflora – Hostilis

You’re might be wondering…
How can I properly identify Mimosa Hostilis (Tenuiflora)

If you do a simple Google search for Mimosa Hostilis, you’ll be presented with a plethora of plants grouped together with the name Mimosa, but all of them are not Mimosa Hostilis – especially not the images found on Google image search. It can be very confusing for someone not familiar with the different plants with a similar appearance, but you don’t have to be a skilled taxonomist to properly identify the Mimosa Hostilis.

Why is it so confusing to identify Mimosa Hostilis?
Well, partly because there are many varieties of Mimosa trees and also we suspect less than honest vendors are peddling various varieties mislabeled/branded as Mimosa Hostilis, because Hostilis/Tenuiflora is worth much more than other varieties of Mimosa plats.  Since it has been misidentified in the past, it seems like a little clarification is needed here to help people make an accurate identification when searching for products. 

One reason for the confusion is because the different Mimosa trees all have some of the same characteristics like the broad, segregated leaves and colorful flowers. But only one version is the true Hostilis. This article will show you what Mimosa Hostilis is, what isn’t Mimosa Hostilis and how to make it easier to find the right one by using three simple identifiers: Flowers, thorns & root extract color. Follow along as we identify each of these characteristics of the Mimosa Hostilis, Tenuiflora.

First, let’s look at the real Mimosa Hostilis. You should be able to see the similarities and recognize it immediately after seeing both a photograph and an illustrated version of an actual Mimosa Hostilis/Tenuiflora tree.

Mimosa Hostilis Flower
This is a Mimosa Hostilis Flower

Here it is in all of its glory… The Mimosa Hostilis flower! The flower stamen and cola look almost like a long, fluffy, yellow caterpillar. This perhaps might be the easiest way to identify a true Mimosa Hostilis.

The shape and appearance of the leaves almost resemble a type of fern. This tree goes by many names, depending on where you are in the world. Some common names are Mimosa Hostilis, Mimosa Tenuiflora, Jurema Preta, and Tepezcohuite. This tree is well-known for its healing ability and is native to  parts of Central and South America. It has been used for hundreds of years as a medicinal plant for burns and wound healing.  The leaves of hundreds of mimosa varieties are relatively similar, so lets look at the unique characteristics of the Mimosa Hostilis Tenuiflora.

Mimosa Hostilis Flowers, Thorns & Roots – Easy as 1, 2, 3.
The flowers of the Mimosa Hostilis are quite unique. First we notice the color and shape of the Mimosa Hostilis flowers with small petals blooming off a flowering branch. Each of the flowering branches can have dozens of flowers with a broad, elongated flowering branch structure. The flowering branches do not have thorns, but the Mimosa Hostilis is a thorny tree – if the medium branches don’t have thorns, it isn’t Mimosa Hostilis Tenuiflora.

The next identifying part we’ll look at is the Mimosa Hostilis Tenuiflora root bark color. Because many vendors sell what is labeled as “Mimosa Hostilis Root Bark” or “Mimosa Hostilis Root Extract” we should be aware of the color to be expected from such a product. Let’s get one thing straight, Mimosa Hostilis Tenuiflora root bark is a deep, rich purple color. When harvesting the root bark, your hands will be stained purple. It’s unmistakable and unavoidable. If you are buying Mimosa Hostilis Root Bark that is not deep purple, you are buying a mislabeled product. Perhaps what you have is Mimosa Hostilis tree trunk bark, but most likely it isn’t from the correct tree.

Identifying Mimosa Hostilis
Identifying the parts of Mimosa Hostilis

It should be easy now to identify it from similar versions. The long white spiked flowers, broad, divided leaves, and thorny branches are the characteristics of this tree.  Now when you look around the Internet for information about Mimosa Hostilis, you’ll be able to recognize it – congratulations to our amateur botanists and taxonomist friends!

Mimosa Pudica
Mimosa Pudica – The “Shame Plant”

This plant is Mimosa Pudica, but it’s often mistaken for Mimosa Hostilis by Chinese vendors who mislabel their product! This is Mimosa Pudica – and it’s not even a tree, it’s a low lying shrub that doesn’t grow very tall. Maximum height of the Mimosa Pudica is only 10-50cm maxium or 4 to 20 inches at most. It can usually be found growing flat on the ground.   The leaves are broad, flat, and divided like the Mimosa Hostilis but the flowers look very different in color and shape. Many plants have similar characteristics, but the seeds, flowers, and fruit can help you tell them apart – or simply question if you are looking at a tree or a low lying shrub. The leaves of the Mimosa Hostilis open at the first ray of sunlight and close up tight when the sun sets for the night. The leaves of the Mimosa Pudica also open and close, but they close up at the slightest touch. A very cool and unique feature of the plant. This is why it is known as “the sensitive plant”.  These plants are a member of the Fabaceae  or Leguminosae (beans, peas) family. This is a common trait for plants, trees, and shrubs in this family. Mimosa Hostilis is not sensitive to touch like the Pudica is. 

Mimosa Alizia tree
Avó (Grandma) Maria with Mimosa Alizia tree

This is not Mimosa Hostilis! This is Albizia Julibrissin, also known as the Persian Silk Tree. It is a variety of Mimosa tree but is not Mimosa Hostilis. When you search for Mimosa Hostilis, you will get many images and articles listing Albizia Julibrissin as Mimosa Hostilis. However, it is not. 

Although the silk tree does resemble Mimosa Hostilis, it has pink & white flowers. The silk tree does not have yellowish white spiky flowers and the leaves are a little different and Albizia Julibrissin has no thorns. You can immediately tell Albizia Julibrissin is the wrong plant when searching for Mimosa Hostilis by looking at the color of the flowers, Hostilis flowers are always yellowish white.

Pop Quiz: Is this Mimosa Hostilis?
It’s actually not! These are the leaves of the Mimosa Albizia Julibrissin

Now you know what the Mimosa Hostilis trees look like, there should be no mistaking the others for this tree. Clearing up this confusion means that more people can accurately identify the Mimosa Hostilis from the mimosa Pudica and the Albizia Julibrissin. 

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