Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Mimosa ceratonia
(climbing mimosa)

Toolbox

Datasheet

Mimosa ceratonia (climbing mimosa)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 16 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Mimosa ceratonia
  • Preferred Common Name
  • climbing mimosa
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • M. ceratonia is a fast-growing perennial multi-stemmed vine that is considered a weed in Puerto Rico (Vélez and Overbeek, 1950). The species is able to grow in a great...

Don't need the entire report?

Generate a print friendly version containing only the sections you need.

Generate report

Pictures

Top of page
PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Climbing mimosa (Mimosa ceratonia); flowers
TitleFlowers
CaptionClimbing mimosa (Mimosa ceratonia); flowers
Copyright©Smithsonian Institution/Pedro Acevedo-Rodriguez
Climbing mimosa (Mimosa ceratonia); flowers
FlowersClimbing mimosa (Mimosa ceratonia); flowers©Smithsonian Institution/Pedro Acevedo-Rodriguez

Identity

Top of page

Preferred Scientific Name

  • Mimosa ceratonia L.

Preferred Common Name

  • climbing mimosa

Other Scientific Names

  • Lomoplis ceratonia (L.) Raf.

International Common Names

  • English: black amaret
  • Spanish: araña gato; aruña gato; bejuco zarza; zarza
  • French: amourette-grand-bois

Local Common Names

  • Dominican Republic: roseta
  • Lesser Antilles: croc-chien; gratte-jambe
  • Puerto Rico: lamedora
  • United States Virgin Islands: amarat steckel; amaret

EPPO code

  • MIMCE (Mimosa ceratonia)

Summary of Invasiveness

Top of page

M. ceratonia is a fast-growing perennial multi-stemmed vine that is considered a weed in Puerto Rico (Vélez and Overbeek, 1950). The species is able to grow in a great range of habitats including fencelines, roadsides, pastures, brushy pastures, wooded drains, forest edges and openings in secondary forests. Consequently, it has the potential to spread much further than it has to date, both inside and outside its native range. Seeds are easily dispersed by the pods clinging to clothing or to the fur of animals, and they can remain viable for several years (Francis, 2000).

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Fabales
  •                         Family: Fabaceae
  •                             Subfamily: Mimosoideae
  •                                 Genus: Mimosa
  •                                     Species: Mimosa ceratonia

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page

Fabaceae is one the largest families of flowering plants. This family includes about 745 genera and 19,500 species that can be found throughout the world, growing in many different environments and climates (Stevens, 2012). The subfamily Mimosoideae is characterized by leaves that are often bicompound and have extra-floral nectaries on the petioles. Flowers within this subfamily are small, often borne in heads, and all open more or less simultaneously. The subfamily Mimosoideae includes 82 genera and 3275 species (Stevens, 2012) distributed in tropical and warm temperate zones.

Mimosa is a genus with about 480 species of herbs and shrubs. The name of this genus is derived from the Greek word “mimos” meaning "mimic”. The taxonomy of the genus Mimosa has had a long and complex history, having gone through periods of splitting and lumping, eventually accumulating over 3000 scientific names, many of which have either been synonymies under other species or transferred to other genera. Consequently, the genus Mimosa has been used for species that currently are classified under the genera Albizia and/or Acacia.

M. ceratonia var. ceratonia is native to the Lesser Antilles, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands; M. ceratonia var. interior Barneby and M. ceratonia var. pseudo-obovata (Taub.) Barneby are endemic to Brazil (Barneby 1991; Forzza et al 2012),: M. ceratonia var. interior is restricted to the state of Bahia, while M. ceratonia var. pseudo-obovata has a wider range of distribution along the Atlantic Brazilian coast (Mata Atlântica) including the states of Maranhão, Ceará, Pernambuco, Bahia, Alagoas, Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, Paraná, and Santa Catarina (Barneby, 1991; Forzza et al., 2012).

Description

Top of page

M. ceratonia is a woody multi-stemmed vine that supports itself on other plants by means of spines that are borne along the length of its stem and leaf axes, attaining 2-6 m in length. Stems are green or with a reddish tinge, obtusely quadrangular, glabrous, striate, with numerous recurved spines, becoming almost cylindrical and grayish when mature. Leaves are alternate, 7-15 cm long, bipinnate; pinnae 4 or 5, pairs opposite; rachis with numerous recurved spines; leaflets opposite, 3-8 pairs per pinna, 1-1.5 cm long, upper surface dark green, dull, glabrous; lower surface pale green, dull, with prominent venation; stipules 8-10 mm long. Flowers are set in heads 1.3-1.7 cm in diameter, in terminal inflorescences; peduncles 1-2 cm long, with numerous recurved spines. Calyx 0.7-1 mm long, glabrous; corolla pink, approximately 2 mm long, with three petal lobes; filaments white, 4-6 mm long. Fruits are legumes, flattened, straight or slightly curved, 4-6 × 1.5-1.7 cm, coriaceous, dehiscent by the walls that separate from the thickened margin, covered with recurved spines. Seeds 7-8 mm long, oblong-elliptical, flattened, dark brown (Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2005).

Plant Type

Top of page Perennial
Seed propagated
Vine / climber
Woody

Distribution

Top of page

The native distribution range of M. ceratonia includes the Lesser Antilles (including Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and Trinidad and Tobago), Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012). This species is reported as a “weed” in Puerto Rico where it is very common at lower and middle elevations (Velez and Overbeek, 1950; Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2005; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012).

Distribution Table

Top of page

The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Central America and Caribbean

Antigua and BarbudaPresentNativeBroome et al., 2007M. ceratonia var. ceratonia
BarbadosPresentNativeBroome et al., 2007M. ceratonia var. ceratonia
British Virgin IslandsPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012M. ceratonia var. ceratonia; Tortola and Virgin Gorda
Dominican RepublicPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
GuadeloupePresentNativeBroome et al., 2007M. ceratonia var. ceratonia
HaitiPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012M. ceratonia var. ceratonia
MartiniquePresentNativeBroome et al., 2007M. ceratonia var. ceratonia
Puerto RicoPresentNative Invasive Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012M. ceratonia var. ceratonia. Common weed: Also on Vieques Island
Saint LuciaPresentNativeGraveson, 2011M. ceratonia var. ceratonia; Quite common
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012M. ceratonia var. ceratonia
United States Virgin IslandsPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012M. ceratonia var. ceratonia. St Croix, St John, and St. Thomas

South America

BrazilPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlagoasPresentNativeForzza et al., 2012Endemic M. ceratonia var. pseudo-obovata
-BahiaPresentNativeForzza et al., 2012Endemic M. ceratonia var. interior
-CearaPresentNativeForzza et al., 2012Endemic M. ceratonia var. pseudo-obovata
-Espirito SantoPresentNativeForzza et al., 2012Endemic M. ceratonia var. pseudo-obovata
-MaranhaoPresentNativeForzza et al., 2012Endemic M. ceratonia var. pseudo-obovata
-ParanaPresentNativeForzza et al., 2012Endemic M. ceratonia var. pseudo-obovata
-PernambucoPresentNativeForzza et al., 2012Endemic M. ceratonia var. pseudo-obovata
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNativeForzza et al., 2012Endemic M. ceratonia var. pseudo-obovata
-Santa CatarinaPresentNativeForzza et al., 2012Endemic M. ceratonia var. pseudo-obovata

Risk of Introduction

Top of page

This species is still restricted to its native distribution range. However, M. ceratonia may represent a potential problem to areas near to the Caribbean region (i.e., Florida and Central America) where the risk of introduction is considerable. The species has been classified as a weed in Puerto Rico since 1950 (Velez and Overbeek, 1950). On this island, M. ceratonia is a very common vine that grows in association with tall grasses, weeds, and thorny shrubs forming compact and impenetrable thickets that negatively impact pastures, livestock and plantations (Francis, 2000). Additionally, M. ceratonia has spiny fruits that can be easily dispersed by humans and animals in mud or adhering to fur, clothing, and vehicles. Seeds may remain dormant and viable for various years waiting for suitable conditions to germinate.

Habitat

Top of page

M. ceratonia is a fast-growing perennial, woody multi-stemmed vine. This species is moderately intolerant to shade and it can be found growing along roadsides, fencelines, disturbed areas, secondary forest, forest edges, pastures, riverbanks, and dry coastal forests. Areas dominated by M. ceratonia often form a dense impenetrable thicket. In Puerto Rico, M. ceratonia is most common on soils derived from limestone and serpentine substrates (Vélez and Overbeek 1950), but also grows on other soil types. This species tolerates all textures of well-drained soils and a wide range of fertility levels. In Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, it can be found growing in areas with annual rainfall varying from 750 mm to over 2000 mm; and from near sea level to at least 900 m in elevation (Liogier, 1988).

Habitat List

Top of page
CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page

M. ceratonia is a host for the diaprepes root weevil (Diaprepes abbreviatus), which is of serious concern for growers of citrus and other agricultural crops (Francis, 2000).

Biology and Ecology

Top of page

Genetics

There are no specific genetic studies based on M. ceratonia . However, studies for other Mimosa species suggest that within this genus the number of chromosomes may vary from 22-56 (2n) (Dahmer et al., 2011). 

Reproductive Biology

The principal mechanism of reproduction in M. ceratonia is the production of seeds. Flowers in this species are arranged in an inflorescence. The inflorescence is a head of small flowers that typically blooms for one day. Flowers are visited by insects, mainly by bees. A collection of pods from Puerto Rico weighed an average of 0.1371 + 0.0005 g (air dry). They averaged 4.18 + 0.12 seeds/pod and ranged from 3 to 6 seeds per pod. Seeds weighed an average of 0.0201 + 0.004 g/seed or 50,000 seeds/kg. Germination rate under controlled conditions is about 71% and occurred 7-165 days after sowing. Germination is epigeal. Stems can sprout when cut and lateral roots sometimes sucker when damaged. Seeds are dispersed by lateral extension of the legumes and by the pods clinging to clothing or to the fur of animals (Francis, 2000). 

Physiology and Phenology

In Puerto Rico, this species flowers from June to January, and fruiting season is from December to March (Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2005). 

Longevity

M. ceratonia is a perennial vine. Plants grow rapidly and produce abundant stems. Seedlings and young plants grow up to 2 or 3 meters per year and plants may persist for many years (Francis, 2000). 

Associations

In the Lesser Antilles, M. ceratonia is widespread in moist open and semi-open areas, often degraded, at lower and middle elevations including pastures and secondary forests with a scattered shrub layer, and coastal forests (Graveson, 2011). In Puerto Rico, this species is a component of the weed community along roadsides and fencelines and in disturbed areas, forest edges, secondary forests, and pastures in lower and middle elevations (Francis, 2000). As with many Mimosa species, M. ceratonia is a nitrogen-fixing legume and possesses root nodules housing Rhizobium bacteria. 

Environmental Requirements

In Puerto Rico, M. ceratonia is most common on soils derived from limestone and serpentine substrates (Vélez and Overbeek 1950), but also grows on other soil types dominated by sedimentary and/or igneous rocks. This species tolerates all textures of well-drained soils and a wide range of fertility levels. Annual rainfall requirements vary from 750 to 2000 mm; and it can be found from sea level to 900 m in elevation (Liogier, 1988).

Climate

Top of page
ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])

Air Temperature

Top of page
Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 15 35

Rainfall

Top of page
ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall7502500mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Bimodal

Soil Tolerances

Top of page

Soil drainage

  • free
  • impeded

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • shallow

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page

Propagation of M. ceratonia is mainly by seeds. Seeds can remain viable for several months waiting for suitable conditions to germinate. Additionally, stems can sprout when cut and lateral roots sometimes sucker when damaged (Francis, 2000).

Pathway Causes

Top of page
CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Escape from confinement or garden escapeSeeds Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2012; Velez and Overbeek, 1950
ForageForage for goats, but according to Vélez and Overbeek (1950), this species is avoided by cattle Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2012
Garden waste disposalSeeds Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2012

Pathway Vectors

Top of page
VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Clothing, footwear and possessionsSpiny fruits Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2012
Floating vegetation and debrisFruits and seeds Yes USDA-ARS, 2012
Land vehiclesFruits and seeds Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2012
LivestockForage for goats Yes Yes Muir, 2009
Machinery and equipmentFruits and seeds Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2012
WaterSeeds Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2012

Impact Summary

Top of page
CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative

Economic Impact

Top of page

In Puerto Rico, M. ceratonia is listed as a weed (Vélez and Overbeek, 1950). The species grows mixed with tall grasses, weeds, and shrubs forming compact and nearly impenetrable thickets. Because of the thorny nature of this species, property owners often choose to eliminate it from pastures and plantations by mowing and slash and burning one to several times over a year. Historically, farmers controlled it by repeated cutting, but the use of weed killers has increased during recent years increasing also the risk of contamination.

Environmental Impact

Top of page

M. ceratonia is able to cause environmental degradation because it can out-compete and replace native vegetation. This species is a fast-growing vine that can climb and grow over native species forming dense thickets. M. ceratonia may negatively impact the growth rate of canopy species and reduce germination and recruitment rates of native understory species by limiting light-availability.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Gregarious
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Host damage
  • Infrastructure damage
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
  • Damages animal/plant products
Impact mechanisms
  • Herbivory/grazing/browsing
  • Rapid growth
  • Rooting
  • Produces spines, thorns or burrs

Uses

Top of page

M. ceratonia is used as a “honey plant”, to protect and conserve soils, and it also serves as wildlife cover (Francis, 2000).

Uses List

Top of page

Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Forage
  • Invertebrate food

Environmental

  • Soil conservation
  • Soil improvement

Fuels

  • Fuelwood

Human food and beverage

  • Honey/honey flora

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page

M. ceratonia is similar in habit to Mimosa casta, but can be distinguished because the leaves are quite different. M. casta has leaves arranged in a single pair of pinnae with 3-4 pairs of leaflets, whereas M. ceratonia has 3-8 pairs of leaflets (Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2005).

Prevention and Control

Top of page

In Puerto Rico, where M. ceratonia is classified as a weed, control on invaded areas is mainly by mowing and burning. Farmers typically control it by repeated cutting throughout the year (Francis, 2000).

References

Top of page

Acevedo-Rodríguez P, 2005. Vines and climbing plants of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Contributions from the United States National Herbarium, 51:483 pp.

Acevedo-Rodríguez P; Strong MT, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, 98:1192 pp. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Barneby RC, 1991. Sensitivae censitae: a description of the genus Mimosa Linnaeus (Mimosaceae) in the New World. Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden. New York, USA: New York Botanical Garden. 65: iii + 835 pp.

Broome R; Sabir K; Carrington S, 2007. Plants of the Eastern Caribbean. Online database. Barbados: University of the West Indies. http://ecflora.cavehill.uwi.edu/index.html

Dahmer N; Simon MF; Schifino-Wittmann MT; Hughes CE; Miotto STS; Giuliani JC, 2011. Chromosome numbers in the genus Mimosa L.: cytotaxonomic and evolutionary implications. Plant Systematics and Evolution, 291(3/4):211-220. http://www.springerlink.com/content/r36560647805p064/

Forzza RC; Leitman PM; Costa AF; Carvalho Jr AA, et al. , 2012. List of species of the Flora of Brazil (Lista de espécies Flora do Brasil). Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Rio de Janeiro Botanic Garden. http://floradobrasil.jbrj.gov.br/2012/

Francis JK, 2000. Wildland Shrubs of the United States and its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions. General Technical Report - International Institute of Tropical Forestry, IITF-WB-1. http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/wildland_shrubs.htm

Graveson R, 2011. Plants of Saint Lucia: A Pictorial Flora of Wild and Cultivated Vascular Plants. http://www.saintlucianplants.com/index.html

Liogier AH, 1988. Flora of Puerto Rico and Adjacent Islands: A Systematic Synopsis. Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico.

Muir J, 2009. Sustainable and profitable control of invasive plant species by small ruminants. Final Report., USA: Texas Agricultural Experiment Station.

Stevens PF, 2012. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/

USDA-ARS, 2012. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysearch.aspx

USDA-NRCS, 2012. The PLANTS Database. Baton Rouge, USA: National Plant Data Center. http://plants.usda.gov/

Velez I; Overbeek J van, 1950. Plantas Indeseables en los Cultivos Tropicales. Riuo Piedras, Puerto Rico: Universidad de Puerto Rico.

Links to Websites

Top of page
WebsiteURLComment
Angiosperm Phylogeny Websitehttp://www.mobot.org/mobot/research/apweb/
Flora of the West Indieshttp://botany.si.edu/antilles/WestIndies/
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Plants of St. Luciahttp://www.saintlucianplants.com/index.html
Plants of the Eastern Caribbeanhttp://ecflora.cavehill.uwi.edu/index.html

Contributors

Top of page

24/10/12 Original text by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

Distribution Maps

Top of page
You can pan and zoom the map
Save map