Catclaw Mimosa or Wait-A-Minute Bush

Catclaw Mimosa or Wait-A-Minute Bush (Mimosa aculeaticarpa var. biuncifera) grows here in the desert areas around Tucson, but since it looks so similar to many of the other desert shrubs, Catclaw Mimosa is not very noticeable until it is covered in its white puffball flowers.

Catclaw Mimosa (Mimosa aculeaticarpa var. biuncifera)

Catclaw Mimosa is a low-growing desert shrub with sharp, curved thorns like cat claws. The thorns are curved inward towards the center of the plant, making this plant very difficult to get away from if you are caught by it. It will take you some time to free yourself because you have to back up slightly and then carefully pull the branches away from you before walking away from the bush, thus the common name of Wait-A-Minute Bush. If you are caught by this bush and you attempt to quickly or forcibly move away from it, it will snag your clothes and give you some nasty "cat scratches". The stems are slender, long, and often low to the ground where they can easily blend in with other plants, making this thorny shrub sometimes difficult to avoid.