Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sensitive Plant | Mimosa pudica


Mimosa is derived from the Greek meaning a mimic alluding to the fact the leaves of some species are sensitive and pudica from the Latinpudica meaning "Pure, chaste, modest, retiring, shy, bashful or shrinking." Liberty Hyde Bailey wrote about this in the Cyclopedia of American Horticulture.

Purple flower on Sensitive Plant (Mimosa pudica)

Leaves on Sensitive Plant (Mimosa pudica)
Don't touch me or I will fold my leaves!

Plant movements similar to animal movements 

A fascinating phenomenon, Nyctinastic movement is exhibited with the setting sun and decreasing light, the leaflets fold together and the whole leaf droops downward. Prayer plants come to mind.  Seismonastic movement, (from Greek, seismos, shaking), touching the leaves, or shaking the plant, or slight warming of the leaves, or chemical and electrical stimuli, or subjecting the plant to a lack of water, will cause the leaflets to fold together and the whole leaf to droop downwards temporarily. This movement is believed to arise from an enigmatic drop in cell pressure. The sensitive plant is believed to originate from Brazil, South America. 

Grassroots Horticulture