Some species are characterized by a high content of tannins, alkaloids, and phenols in their leaves. These secondary metabolites are released during DNA extraction and might hinder molecular studies based on PCR (polymerase chain reaction). To provide an efficient method to extract DNA, Mimosa tenuiflora, an important leguminous plant from Brazilian semiarid region used in popular medicine and as a source of fuelwood or forage, was used. Eight procedures previously reported for plants were tested and adapted from leaf tissues of M. tenuiflora stored at -20°C. The optimized procedure in this study encompassed the utilization of phenol during deproteinization, increased concentrations of cetyltrimethylammonium bromide and sodium chloride, and a shorter period and lower temperature of incubation concerning other methods. The extracted DNA did not present degradation, and amplification via PCR was successful using ISSR, trnL, ITS, and ETS primers. Besides M. tenuiflora, this procedure was also tested and proved to be efficient in genetic studies of other plant species.