Mimosa pudica: Touch me not

Family: Fabaceae
Common name: Touch me not, Shy plant, Sleepy plant, Sensitive plant

You could spend a lot of this time with this pretty plant, teasing and tickling the leaves and then waiting for them to wake up. Touch me nots creep along the ground; a single plant covering a large area filled with prickly stems, sensitive leaves and pretty pink flowers.

The leaves fold inward and droop when touched, shaken or blown upon, but come back to normal after a while. The pulvinus, a small bulge at the base of the leaves is mainly responsible for this folding action, which it transmits to the pulvini of neighboring leaves.

In large-scale cultivation, Mimosa could become a weed affecting the growth of other crops. But it’s good at absorbing heavy metals such as copper and lead from the soil making it better. Like other plants in this family, Mimosa roots develop nodules that grow nitrogen-fixing bacteria, that can absorb atmospheric nitrogen and convert it into a form of nitrogen that can be used by the plants.

Propagation is through seeds that develop on the plant after flowering.

Photo Courtesy: love4gardening.com

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