Pretty but Thorny Pink Pea

Florida sensitive brier (Mimosa quadrivalvis) is not your typical pea.  It is thorny, very thorny.  To be technically correct, it is prickly.  Prickles grow from the epidermis of the plant and, as a result, can grow anywhere on a plant.

Its foliage and even its seed pods are prickly.

Each pod is four-sided and splits open to expel its tiny hard black seeds.  Its species name, quadrivalvis, means four-valved.  Hence, four-valve mimosa is another name for this perennial vine that sprawls over other plants and can grow to be more than 6′ long.

You will find this plant growing in the scrubby pine flatwoods at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area (ORCA) on both sides of Oslo Road.

Its flowers are tiny, about the size of a dime and grow from the leaf axils (angles).

Its bipinnate compound leaves are “sensitive” and fold together when touched.  The leaflets range form 4 to 17 in number.

Watch out for the curved prickles on this plant and enjoy its pretty flowers.