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Sensitive Plant

Sensitive Plant
One of the amazing characteristics of plant is response to stimuli, which is found in only few species. One of them is 'Mimosa pudica' or sensitive plant. Find out more about the uses and characteristic of this touch me not plant further.
Niharika Arya
Last Updated: Apr 2, 2019
sensitive plant, shame plant, or Mimosa pudica
Plants have life. They breathe, make food, grow and reproduce. There is one characteristic clearly seen and that is response to stimuli. This is prominent in a plant called sensitive plant, known for its response to touch and it closes leaves when touched.
Mimosa Pudica plant
This characteristic has given it many names like humble plant, shameful plant, touch me not, sleeping grass etc. So, let's find out some more interesting facts and characteristic of this unique plant.
Classification and Description
Scientific Name: Mimosa pudica

Family: Leguminosae

Common Name: Humble Plant, Shameful Plant, Touch Me Not, Sleeping Grass, Tickle-Me Plant

Distribution: It originated in Brazil but has now spread to most of the states of America, Africa, Asia and the Gulf.
Description
Mimosa Pudica is among the 400 species found under mimosa, which belong to the Leguminosae family. It has fern like leaves and the stem is approximately 5cms long. They are small shrubs and are also considered as weeds. The leaflets of Mimosa Pudica close in a few of its sections if touched or disturbed.
Sensitive plant
They then reopen after some minutes. They have tiny purplish flowers which contain 3 to 4 seeds. It grows in a comparatively low temperature but it should not go below 16 ºC. The most appropriate temperature for this plant is between 16 ºC and 29 ºC.
Wild sensitive plant closeup
This species can cause troubles too. Its weedy characteristic can affect the crop of coffee, bananas, soybeans, papaya, corn, coconuts, tomatoes, cotton, sugarcane, etc. So if you are planning to grow it, then keep it away from the plants mentioned as it can be dangerous for them.
Mysterious Aspect
The plant has been found with two responses - Nyctinastic movements and Seismonastic movements. Nyctinastic movements is related to its ability to close the leaves in the evening till sunrise. Seismonastic movements is about the sense of touch. Once the leaves are touched or shaken or slightly warmed they close their leaves immediately and reopen later.
There have been many researches conducted with this remarkable response of the plant but till now there are no concrete evidences. Some say it takes place to save the plant from the herbivorous and some think that they close their leaves to protect themselves from intense sunlight, which in turn saves water and environmental stress.
How to Grow
It is quite easy to grow Mimosa Pudica. Here are some steps which help to grow this plant.
  • Soak its seeds in warm water overnight so it can sprout faster.
  • Take a small pot with soil and manure. Put the seed 1/8 inch deep and cover the pot with clear plastic. This will give them moisture and humidity to grow.
  • Remove the plastic as soon as you find your humble plant growing.
  • Now remove the plant from the small pot and place it in a bigger pot or in the ground.
  • The plant should get appropriate sunlight and water it to prevent the soil from drying.
  • Care should be taken regularly. Do not pour excess water as it may result in the decay of the plant.
  • The leaves may not respond or close when the plant is small but once it gains strength it will start responding to touch.
Uses
  • It is widely used as an ornamental plant in almost all the parts of the world because of its curious behavior.
  • Mimosa plant is said to have an alkaloid known as mimosine, which is used for anti-proliferative and apoptotic effects.
  • Extract of the roots of this plant helps in the nutrilization of the venom of monocled cobra.
  • As it belongs to the Leguminosae family, nitrogen fixing bacteria attach to the root nodules of this plant, helps in the process of nitrogen fixation.
Take proper care if you have one at your place. Keep the positive and negative aspects of this plant in mind and enjoys its magic.