For a Northern gardener, each visit to the tropics is the chance to reconnect with plants that can be in bloom at almost any time of the year, and that flaunt colors and talents no Northern plant would dare. But where such extraordinariness is normal, the real shock can be seeing a familiar Northern plant that, seemingly, is just as comfortable in the tropics. How can any plant that tolerates minus-ten Fahrenheit back home also thrive down here, where it never drops below forty?
Take pink-flowered mimosa, which is renowned as far north as coastal Maine for flowering at the height of summer. Is it the same species as the tree in bee-loving bloom here in Key West?