Pic of the Day – Albizia coreana

Fleecy spring flowers top the pinnate foliage.

Fleecy spring flowers top the pinnate foliage.

The Korean mimosa is an endangered plant in the wild and extremely rare in cultivation as well and there is some confusion between the Korean Albizia coreana and the Chinese A. kalkora.  Both are similar with white flowers but the Korean species is typically a larger tree.  It makes a medium-sized tree to about 35′-40′ tall and two-thirds as wide.  Smooth gray bark with arching branches give an attractive silhouette in winter.  Spring gives rise to bi-pinnate, light green foliage.  By early June at the JC Raulston Arboretum, fluffy white flowers appear with the long white stamens being the conspicuously showy parts.  When the stamens shed their pollen, they turn yellow-tan and fall.  This tree is in the legume or bean family and tough bean pods to about 5″ long follow the flowers.  In the landscape this tree can be a bit of a nuisance with quite a bit of trash falling throughout the season – flowers in spring, fruit in late summer, and the foliage including the long petioles in fall.  It is therefore best planted in large mulched beds where the dropping debris will not be an issue.  It appears to be quite drought tolerant once established.

A mature Albizia coreana at the JC Raulston Arboretum.

A mature Albizia coreana at the JC Raulston Arboretum.

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