Regularity: Regularly occurring
Catalog Number: US 1289518
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): A. Ruth
Locality: Fort Worth., Tarrant, Texas, United States, North America
- Isotype: Small, J. K. 1928. N. Amer. Fl. 23: 139.
Flower-Visiting Insects of Sensitive Brier in Illinois
(Also referred to as Mimosa quadrivalvis & Schrankia uncinata; bees collect pollen or explore the flowers, while the bee fly and beetle feed on pollen or explore the flowers; the flowers lack nectar; most observations are from Bernhardt, otherwise observations are from Mitchell, Moure & Hurd, LaBerge, and MacRae)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera cp (Bht); Apidae (Bombini): Bombus griseocallis cp fq (Bht), Bombus nevadensis cp (Bht), Bombus pensylvanica cp fq (Bht); Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Melissodes agilis cp (Mch), Svastra obliqua obliqua cp (LB); Anthophoridae (Xylocopini): Xylocopa virginica cp (Bht); Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile addenda cp (Bht), Megachile brevis brevis cp (Bht), Megachile montivaga cp (Bht); Megachilidae (Osmiini): Hoplitis pilosifrons cp (Bht)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Augochlorella persimilis cp fq (Bht), Augochlorella striata cp fq (MH, Bht), Augochloropsis sumptuosa cp fq (MH, Bht), Augochloropsis sumptuosa cp fq (Bht), Halictus ligatus cp (Bht), Halictus parallelus cp (Bht), Lasioglossum sp. cp (Bht), Lasioglossum albipennis cp (Bht), Lasioglossum bruneri cp (MH), Lasioglossum illinoensis cp (Bht), Lasioglossum nymphaearum exp (Bht), Lasioglossum versatus cp fq (Bht); Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes kincaidii cp fq (Bht); Colletidae (Hylaeinae): Hylaeus sp. cp (Bht)
Bombyliidae: Unidentified sp. fp/exp (Bht)
Buprestidae: Acmaeodera tubulus fp/exp (McR)
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
Mimosa nuttallii, the Catclaw Brier or Sensitive Brier, is a herbaceous perennial legume in the subfamily Mimosoideae native to the central United States. It has a trailing semiwoody vine covered with small recurved prickles that can be painful to bare skin.
The ribbed stems of this plant usually grow to 4 ft. or more and are branched. Plants rarely reach more than 1-2 ft. in height. The frond-like leaves are alternate with prickly stalks. The bipinnate leaf blades are divided into 4-9 pairs of small segments, and these are again divided into 8-15 pairs of tiny leaflets. Leaflets are elliptic, glabrous, with a prominent midrib. Like a few other species of Mimosa (such as M. pudica), the leaves fold up when touched or disturbed. It is also said that the roots of M.nuttallii give off an acrid, garlic like smell when disturbed. This may be an additional defense mechanism of the plant.
The tiny flowers occur in congested bunches. Before they open, they look much like small green bramble fruits. Each individual flower has five minute petals and 8-10 conspicuous stamens. When open, the pink-purple stamens form a globelike cluster at the tip of their leafless stalk. Yellow spores can be often be seen highlighting the tips. The globes are about 0.5 to 0.75" across (about 1.3-2 cm). Flowers and fruits appear from May to September.
The fruit of the Catclaw Brier is a long, slender, rounded pod that has a covering of dense prickles, typically about 3-7 cm (1.2-2.8 in) long.
Habitat includes disturbed areas of sandy or silty soils, roadsides, grasslands, prairies and forest margins. It is known to be very nutritious for livestock, who will seek it out. On rangeland, its absence can also be a good indicator of overgrazing.
Other common names for this plant include Nuttall's sensitive briar and Shame-boy, a reference to the sensitive foliage that closes upon touch. Former synonyms include Schrankia nuttallii. The species name nuttallii is in honor of Thomas Nuttall, an English botanist who lived in the United States for many years.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Genus Shrankia was changed to Mimosa (Kartesz checklist 1994) (Martinez, TNC-HO, 6/94).
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