Mimosa quadrivalvis

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Mimosa quadrivalvis
Mimosa quadrivalvis MMS.jpg
Photo take by Michelle M. Smith
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae ⁄ Leguminosae
Genus: Mimosa
Species: M. quadrivalvis
Binomial name
Mimosa quadrivalvis
MIMO QUAD dist.jpg
Natural range of Mimosa quadrivalvis from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: Florida sensitive-briar[1]

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: Mimosa Floridana (Chapman) Weakley & Flores-Cruz; Leptoglottis floridana (Chapman) Small ex Britton & Rose; Mimosa quadrivalvis Linnaeus var. floridana (Chapman) Barneby; Schrankia microphylla (Dryander) J.F. MacBride var. floridana (Chapman) Isely[1]

Varieties: none[1]


Mimosa quadrivalvis is an armed sprawling vine with 3-5 pinnae pairs per leaf and leaflets with evident secondary veins.[1]

This species is frequent where it is found and has a sprawling behavior.[2] It is a vining plant that creeps and crawls as well.[2]

The root system of Mimosa quadrivalvis includes stem tubers which store non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) important for both resprouting following fire and persisting during long periods of fire exclusion.[3] Diaz-Toribio and Putz (2021) recorded this species to have an NSC concentration of 80.4mg/g (ranking 57 out of 100 species studied) and water content of 73.5% (ranking 89 out of 100 species studied).[3]


This species is a southeastern Coastal Plain endemic, ranging from Georgia to Florida.[1]


In a study comparing N2 fixation potential in nine legume species occurring in longleaf pine-wiregrass ecosystems, M. quadrivalvis showed clear superiority in growing a large nodule mass to support the high N2 fixation activity.[4] Aboveground N concentration was the greatest for M. quadrivalis species.[4] N2 fixation potential for M. quadrivalvis does not differ between shaded and unshaded environments.[4] The high potential for N2 fixation makes M. quadrivalvis a candidate species for contributing to the N economy in the restoration of longleaf pine ecosystems.[4]


This species has been found in open pinewoods, oak-scrub woodlands, prairies, limestone glades, deciduous forests, turkey oak-pinelands, savannas, well drained ridges, ungrazed native grasslands, arroyos, and bare chalk areas.[2] It is commonly found in pine sandhill environments.[5] Occurs in areas that have sandy loam, peat, gravel, and/or clay loam that is dry, loose, or moist.[6][2] Mimosa quadrivalvis is predominately in native groundcover with a statistical affinity in upland pinelands of South Georgia.[7] This species can be found growing in open to semi-shaded areas.[2]

M. quadrivalvis has shown resistance to regrowth in reestablished woodlands that were disturbed by agriculture in South Carolina coastal plain communities, making it an indicator species for remnant woodland.[8] It exhibited its highest density in response to disking in Southern Georgia, especially in double-disked plots. The species has shown regrowth in reestablished habitat that was disturbed by disking.[9] It became absent in response to soil disturbance by military training in west Georgia. It has shown resistance to regrowth in reestablished pine forests that were disturbed by this activity.[10] M. quadrivalvis decreased its occurrence and became absent in response to soil disturbance by agriculture in southwest Georgia. It has shown resistance to regrowth in reestablished pinelands that were disturbed by agricultural practices.[11][7]

Associated species include Pinus palutris, Quercus laevis, Muhlenbergia, Aristida longespica, A. oligantha, Juniperus, Chamaecyparis, Sabal, Magnolia, Acer, Illicium, Salix, Asclepias curtissii, Palafoxia, Paroncyhia, Quercus myrtifolia, Q. geminata, and Serenoa repens.[2]


This species has been observed to flower in February as well as from April through September, with peak inflorescence in May.[12] Fruiting has been observed from April through September.[2]

Seed dispersal

This species is thought to be dispersed by gravity.[13][14]

Seed bank and germination

Seed coats are hard and viable seed can persist in the seed bank for at least two years.[15]

Fire ecology

This species has been found in areas that are burned,[2] and populations of Mimosa quadrivalvis have been known to persist through repeated annual burns.[16][17]


Mimosa quadrivalvis has been observed at the Archbold Biological Station to host plasterer bees such as Colletes distinctus (family Colletidae), thread-waisted wasps such as Prionyx thomae (family Sphecidae), and sweat bees from the family Halictidae such as Agapostemon splendens, Augochlorella aurata, Augochloropsis metallica, A. sumptuosa, Lasioglossum miniatulus, L. nymphalis, and L. placidensis[18]. Deyrup observed M. quadrivalvis being visited byAgapostemon splendens, Augochlorella aurata, Augochloropsis sumptuosa, Dialictus miniatulus, D. placidensis, and Anthidiellum perplexum.[19]

Herbivory and toxicology

The seeds are sparingly consumed by bobwhite quail and songbirds, and the leaves are commonly consumed by gopher tortoises.[20]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

M. quadrivalvis should avoid soil disturbance by agriculture and military training to conserve its presence in pine communities.[7][11]

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Weakley, A.S. 2020. Flora of the Southeastern United States. Edition of 20 October 2020. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: http://herbarium.bio.fsu.edu. Last accessed: June 2014. Collectors: Edwin L. Tyson, J. Dwyer, Kurt Blum, Robert L. Lazor, Loran C. Anderson, J, Craddock Burks, Grady W. Reinert, R.C. Phillips, Gary R. Knight, Norlan C. Henderson, R. Kral, A.F. Clewell, Robert K. Godfrey, William Reese, Paul Redfearn, J.P. Gillespie, Nancy Caswell, Richard S. Mitchell, Patricia Elliot, Gwynn W. Ramsey, D. B. Ward, S. S. Ward, D.S. Correll, Robert J. Lemaire, L.S. Beard, R.O. Vail, W.B. Fox, Edward E. Terrell, S.B. Jones, Sidney McDaniel, V.L. Cory, Brunelle Moon, Cecil R. Slaughter, Robert R. Simons, Angus Gholson, Walter S. Judd, Bob Simons, Tom Morris, William Lindsey, Elmer C. Prichard, L.J. Brass, O. Lakela, John W. Thieret, Gerardo Garcia, Anastacio Bernal, Natalio Castillo, Guillermo Perez, Nick Lopez, W. L. McCart, D. S. Correll, I. M. Johnston, Duane Isely, F. L. Lewton, H. R. Reed, L. S. Beard, and R O Vail. States and Counties: Florida: Calhoun, Citrus, Duval, Franklin, Gadsden, Highlands, Indian River, Jackson, Lake, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Marion, Nassau, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Suwannee, Taylor, Wakulla, Walton, and Volusia. Georgia: Seminole, and Thomas. Arkansas: Clark and Washington. North Carolina: Robeson and Rockingham. Alabama: Pickens and Sumter. Louisiana: Acadia. Texas: Andrews,Aransas, Callahan, Comal, Dallas, Denton, Dimmit, Ft. McKanepp, Haskell, Leon, Sutton, Taylor, Van Zandt, and Zapata. Kansas: Franklin. Missouri: Bates and Greene. Countries: Panama.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Diaz-Toribio, M.H. and F. E. Putz 2021. Underground carbohydrate stores and storage organs in fire-maintained longleaf pine savannas in Florida, USA. American Journal of Botany 108: 432-442.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Cathey, S. E., L. R. Boring, et al. (2010). "Assessment of N2 fixation capability of native legumes from the longleaf pine-wiregrass ecosystem." Environmental and Experimental Botany 67: 444-450.
  5. Downer, M. R. (2012). Plant species richness and species area relationships in a Florida sandhill community. Integrative Biology. Ann Arbor, MI, University of South Florida. M.S.: 52.
  6. Miller, J. H., R. S. Boyd, et al. (1999). "Floristic diversity, stand structure, and composition 11 years after herbicide site preparation." Canadian Journal of Forest Research 29: 1073-1083.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Ostertag, T.E., and K.M. Robertson. 2007. A comparison of native versus old-field vegetation in upland pinelands managed with frequent fire, South Georgia, USA. Pages 109–120 in R.E. Masters and K.E.M. Galley (eds.). Proceedings of the 23rd Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference: Fire in Grassland and Shrubland Ecosystems.
  8. Brudvig, L.A., E Grman, C.W. Habeck, and J.A. Ledvina. (2013). Strong legacy of agricultural land use on soils and understory plant communities in longleaf pine woodlands. Forest Ecology and Management 310: 944-955.
  9. Buckner, J.L. and J.L. Landers. (1979). Fire and Disking Effects on Herbaceous Food Plants and Seed Supplies. The Journal of Wildlife Management 43(3):807-811.
  10. Dale, V.H., S.C. Beyeler, and B. Jackson. (2002). Understory vegetation indicators of anthropogenic disturbance in longleaf pine forests at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA. Ecological Indicators 1(3):155-170.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Kirkman, L.K., K.L. Coffey, R.J. Mitchell, and E.B. Moser. Ground Cover Recovery Patterns and Life-History Traits: Implications for Restoration Obstacles and Opportunities in a Species-Rich Savanna. (2004). Journal of Ecology 92(3):409-421.
  12. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. www.gilnelson.com/PanFlora/ Accessed: 19 MAY 2021
  13. Kirkman, L. Katherine. Unpublished database of seed dispersal mode of plants found in Coastal Plain longleaf pine-grasslands of the Jones Ecological Research Center, Georgia.
  14. Maza-Villalobos, S., C. Lemus-Herrera, et al. (2011). "Successional trends in soil seed banks of abandoned pastures of a Neotropical dry region." Journal of Tropical Ecology 27: 35-49.
  15. Coffey, K. L. and L. K. Kirkman (2006). "Seed germination strategies of species with restoration potential in a fire-maintained pine savanna." Natural Areas Journal 26: 289-299.
  16. Robertson, K.M. Unpublished data collected from Pebble Hill Fire Plots, Pebble Hill Plantation, Thomasville, Georgia.
  17. Platt, W.J., R. Carter, G. Nelson, W. Baker, S. Hermann, J. Kane, L. Anderson, M. Smith, K. Robertson. 2021. Unpublished species list of Wade Tract old-growth longleaf pine savanna, Thomasville, Georgia.
  18. Deyrup, M.A. and N.D. 2015. Database of observations of Hymenoptera visitations to flowers of plants on Archbold Biological Station, Florida, USA.
  19. Deyrup, M. J. E., and Beth Norden (2002). "The diversity and floral hosts of bees at the Archbold Biological Station, Florida (Hymenoptera: Apoidea)." Insecta mundi 16(1-3).
  20. Denhof, Carol. 2013. Understory Plant Spotlight Sensitive Briar Mimosa quadrivalvis var. augustata (Torr. & A. Gray) Barneby. The Longleaf Leader. Vol. VI. Iss. 1. Page 12