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Sensitive Briar, Littleleaf Sensitive-briar - Mimosa microphylla

Family: Fabaceae - Pea family Genus Common Name: Mimosa Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Vine Herb
Mimosa microphylla - Sensitive Briar, Littleleaf Sensitive-briar. Thumbnail size flower. Allan Ihrer has suggested that this might be M. nuttallii. USDA, however, does not list that species in Tennessee. I originally identified this as M. quadrivalvis, which is listed both as a synonym of M. nuttallii and M. microphylla, and subsequent investigation indicates M. microphylla is likely the correct identification.

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Mimosa microphylla

Distribution of Mimosa microphylla in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 21 Feb 2018). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Gruetli-Laager, Grundy County, TN Date: 2007-July-12Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
While this is a member of the pea family, it definitely does NOT have a pea-like blossom. The thumbnail-size pink ball is a cluster of tiny flowers.
Mimosa microphylla

Site: Cloudland Canyon State Park, Dade County, GA Date: 2010-July-10Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The "Sensitive Briar" name comes not only from the stickers on the stems, but from the fact that the pinnate leaves "close" when touched, as shown in this animated photo.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Mimosa microphylla

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2018
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer