Wait-a-Minute Bush
Catclaw Mimosa

Mimosa aculeaticarpa biuncifera

Wait-a-Minute Bush, Mimosa biuncifera, Pen & Ink © by Michael Plagens

Drawn from specimen found in the Mazatzal Mts., Maricopa Co., Arizona, USA, 20 July 1992.

The flowers are attractive to many insects such as native bees and butterflies. A variety of insects also use this plant including the Giant Scale Insect shown in the thumb link below.

Giant Scale Icerya

Cottony Giant Scale

Super sharp thorns of Wait-a-Minute Bush, Mimosa biuncifera, photo © by Michael Plagens

ARMED: The fiercly sharp thorns appear in pairs along the stems and are hook-shaped. Digging into the flesh of those pushing through, these thorns often make retreat difficult but necessary.

LEAVES: Double-compound leaves are finely dissected into extremely small leaflets. Like many mimosas the leaves fold up, but slowly, when disturbed or cut and also at night.

RANGE: In the Sonoran Desert of Arizona this shrub occurs at upper elevations and into chaparral.

SHRUB: Woody shrub with rather thin flexible branches reaching mostly 2 meters in height.

FLOWERS: Many small flowers with conspicuous stamens and minute petals are arranged into spheres of cream-white or in some varieties, pinkish.

FRUIT: Even the bean pods often have a thorn or two along the margin. The pods are reddish-brown, and are conspicuous when borne in abundance following a strong rainy season.

Wait-a-Minute Bush, Mimosa biuncifera, loaded with seeds © by Michael Plagens

Fabaceae -- Bean Family

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More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 14 Nov. 2007,
updated 7 Aug. 2017.