The Q&A Archives: difference in similar looking species

Question: are tree species Calliandra (powder puff) and Albizia (mimosa) related very closely? my internet research has turned up photos that are strikingly similar and information that seems interchangable. I am interested bcuz I named my daughter Calliandra (Callie) without knowing of the tree but would like to plant one for her. We live in zone 6, coastal Mass. Thank you very much, K

Answer: Albizia julibrissin (Mimosa) and Calliandra (Powder-puff) are related in that they are both from the legume (Leguminosae) family. They are similar in appearance but are completely different species. Mimosa has a low branching, open, spreading habit and delicate, lacy, almost fern-like foliage. Fragrant, silky, pink puffy pompom blooms, two inches in diameter, appear in abundance from late April to early July creating a spectacular sight. Calliandra have a sprawling growth habit. Best blooming is spring and summer. In good health, the foliage is a nice shiny green with compound evergreen leaves. Best is red although other colors can be seen.

Plant in full sun in most soil conditions but not near the sea. After some added water during establishment, no added care is needed. Calliandra is hardy only in zones 9 and 10; Albizia is hardy in zones 6-9.

Best wishes with your new mimosa tree!

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