mimosa


mimosa
/mi moh"seuh, -zeuh/, n.
1. any of numerous plants, shrubs, or trees belonging to the genus Mimosa, of the legume family, native to tropical or warm regions, having small flowers in globular heads or cylindrical spikes and often sensitive leaves.
2. any of various similar or related plants, esp. of the genus Acacia, as the silver wattle, or Albizzia, as the silk tree.
3. a cocktail of orange juice and champagne, usually in equal parts.
[1695-1705; < NL, equiv. to L mim(us) MIME + -osa, fem. of -osus -OSE1]

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Any member of the more than 450 species that make up the genus Mimosa in the family Mimosaceae, native to tropical and subtropical areas throughout both hemispheres.

Most are herbaceous plants or undershrubs; some are woody climbers; a few are small trees. They are often prickly. Mimosas are widely cultivated for the beauty of their foliage and for their interesting response to light and mechanical stimuli: the leaves of some species droop in response to darkness and close up their leaflets when touched. The name comes from this "mimicking" of animal sensibility. The roots of some species are poisonous; others contain skin irritants. Many acacias are commonly but incorrectly called mimosas. See also sensitive plant.

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plant
 any member of a genus (Mimosa) of more than 450 plants in the pea family (Fabaceae), native to tropical and subtropical areas throughout both hemispheres. They are so named from the movements of the leaves in certain species that “mimic” animal sensibility.

      Most Mimosa species are herbs or undershrubs; some are woody climbers; and a few are trees. They are often prickly. The leaves of most are bipinnate (i.e., the leaflets of the feather-formed leaves, in turn, bear leaflets). The roots of some species are poisonous; others contain substances irritating to the skin. Mimosas are characterized by small regular flowers with valvate corolla.

      Mimosas are widely cultivated partly for the beauty of their bipinnate foliage and partly for their interesting response to light and mechanical stimuli. A few species have leaves that are sensitive to light and touch; they droop in response to darkness and close up their leaflets when touched. When shaken in any way, the leaves close and droop simultaneously. The well-known sensitive plant, or humble plant (M. pudica), native to Central America, and similar species such as M. sensitiva are commonly grown in greenhouses.

      Many species of the related genus acacia are commonly but erroneously called mimosas.

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Universalium. 2010.

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