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Cat-claw Sensitive-briar

Photo by Iralee Barnard

Common Name: Cat-claw Sensitive-briar

Scientific Name: Mimosa quadrivalvis

Family: Bean

Longevity: Perennial

Height: 1 - 1.5 feet

Bloom Period: June and July


Description: Stems are sprawling up to 2― feet long and prickly. Leaves are 4 inches long and divided into many small, oblong leaflets. Flowers are in dense, ball-shaped, pink clusters and dotted with yellow pollen.

Comments: When the leaves of this plant are touched, they fold, thus the common name “sensitive.” Briar refers to the hooked prickles along the stem and fruit. The seed pods form in clusters and are long, slender, strongly-ribbed and densely prickly. Sensitive-briar has high protein content and is relished by livestock. Cattle select this plant as a conditioner. Sensitive-briar is an important range condition indicator and considered a decreaser. Although usually rare in pastures, plants can be abundant in ungrazed meadows and prairie roadsides. Sensitive-briar is found on upland prairies and roadsides throughout the state.

Cat-claw seed pods
Photo by Iralee Barnard