Mimosa is a flowering tree native to tropical regions in Asia and Africa. Its scientific name is Albizia julibrissin, but it also goes by other names like silk tree and Persian silk tree.
It can grow over 60 feet tall with a spread of around 35 feet wide. The mimosa tree has beautiful pink flowers with silky filaments. The pink flowers make the tree look like it’s covered in cotton candy.
Many people grow mimosa trees for ornamental purposes because of their fragrance and showy nature. Many equate the smell of its flowers to chocolate. That’s enough about magnificent mimosa trees. How about mimosa wood?
Is mimosa wood good for anything?
Mimosa wood is excellent for paper production. The tree has a high tannin content, which prevents fast rotting. The wood is therefore used for fence posts. Other uses include making bridges, wheels, small crafts like bows, inlays, and decorative purposes such as veneer or plywood.
Woodworkers love to work with mimosa wood for various reasons. Although it has a coarse texture, it lacks pitch and sap issues.
The color of the wood and the grain makes beautiful pieces. Woodworkers can use saw work and clear finishing techniques to bring out the distinctive dark grain.
Let me tell you about eight more fascinating facts about the mimosa wood:
Is Mimosa Wood Hardwood or Softwood?
Mimosa wood falls under the hardwood category. Mimosa trees thrive in zone 8 in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Plant Hardiness Zone Map.
Like most other hardwoods, the mimosa tree is deciduous. It loses its leaves each fall season. When looking at the tree’s density, mimosa and pine are quite similar in density and hardness, although pine trees are softwood.
Mimosa wood is lightweight with a density of around 540 kilograms per cubic meter.
What Grain and Color is Mimosa Wood?
Mimosa wood is a light brown to a darker golden or reddish-brown. However, its most distinguishing characteristic is its grain pattern. The wood has an interesting grain, almost as if you took it and pressed it in a vise to make the grain look like waves.
The sapwood is a pale yellow and is differentiated from its heartwood. The color seems to darken as the wood ages.
Mimosa wood has a moderately coarse texture with interlocked grain. It is also hard and compact, with medium bending strength, medium crushing strength, and low shock resistance.
How Workable is Mimosa Wood?
Mimosa wood is ranked moderate for both working and machining characteristics. Its low density makes it easy to work with hand tools, although it can be brittle and tends to have a moderate blunting effect on cutting edges.
It also glues, stains, and finishes nicely. The wood has a moderately high luster and can be varnished to bring out its natural beauty. It is one of the few available kinds of wood that are naturally fluorescent.
Using a water-based clear finish will preserve the wood’s natural color and raise the grain slightly. Before applying the finishing coat, sand the wood to smooth out any imperfections.
I recommend using an oil-based or urethane finish if you want the wood to look darker and not raise the grain significantly.
Mimosa wood is similar to pine wood, but it is easier to work the mimosa wood. It doesn’t come with sap and pitch commonly associated with pine wood.
Can You Smoke with Mimosa Wood?
As far as I know, you can get better woods such as oak and hickory or fruit woods to smoke meats. However, if you have mimosa wood, it still works well. I have read that there’s a relationship between mimosa, acacia, and mesquite.
Mimosa wood is not bad that it will ruin your steaks. It has a mild mesquite flavor, which is sweet, earthy, and smoky. I have used mimosa wood myself and would use it again in a pinch.
Can You Burn Mimosa Wood?
Mimosa wood is good for starting fires. It catches quickly even when wet and burns hot at first. You can get a fire going with almost anything. However, if you want a fire that burns well enough to cook over, you need something fairly combustible. That is mimosa wood.
A small amount of mimosa bark will help make a fire where other things fail. (A large amount of mimosa bark might burn too fast).
Mimosa wood also burns clean. You will have no issues with sparking and residue buildup. However, the wood contains many oils, which you shouldn’t inhale. Burn the wood in a properly ventilated area or fireplace that’s not congested.
Unlike pine, mimosa wood doesn’t have resin. Therefore, there won’t be any popping when you burn it. If you mind the popping sound, use kiln-dried mimosa wood.
When I used mimosa wood, it burnt a lot faster than I expected. It is relatively light, and I suppose that’s why it burns faster than oak and hickory.
Is Mimosa Wood Allergenic or Toxic?
Although most woods do not cause adverse reactions, mimosa wood may cause allergic reactions and irritations. Some woodworkers report instances of respiratory irritation.
This is a result of the inhalation of wood dust. Fewer cases report skin irritations. It’s vital to wear gloves while handling mimosa wood to be safe.
Although reactions are different from one person to the next, I also advise you to always wear a mask to prevent the fine dust from getting into your respiratory system.
This precaution doesn’t apply to mimosa wood only. Do so when working on all kinds of wood.
Can Mimosa Wood Make Good Furniture?
Mimosa wood is not primarily harvested for timber. You can get mimosa wood pieces from lobbyists or small custom sawmills. If you get enough pieces or have a tree of your own, you can make furniture pieces.
However, the wood isn’t durable enough to be used outside in places where it will get wet. So, no decks or furniture that gets rained on. Mimosa wood is a non-durable species of timber. It is highly perishable and weathers and discolors easily in damp conditions.
It also rots quickly when permanently wet, and the rot is rapid even in a low-oxygen environment. Inside the house, you can make picture frames, shelving, and other items that won’t be exposed to moisture.
How Sustainable is Mimosa Wood?
Mimosa trees are not an endangered species. This tree species is not in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Some localities like North America classify the mimosa tree species as invasive because it can grow up to 50 feet tall, making it a threat to power lines close by.