The Sensitive Plant

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An interesting video of the Sensitive plant, Mimosa pudica. The music is the intro to 'Baba O'Riley' by The Who. [1:13]

The photographer writes;

I've been growing this unusual plant for a couple of months. The Sensitive plant is a creeping annual or perennial herb often grown for its curiosity value: the compound leaves fold inward and droop when touched, re-opening within minutes. Mimosa pudica is native to Brazil, but is now a pantropical weed. Other names given to this curious plant are TickleMe Plant, Humble plant, Shame plant, Sleeping grass, Prayer Plant, Touch-me-not, Makahiya (Philippines, meaning "shy"), Mori Vivi (West Indies), mate-loi (false death) (Tonga). The Chinese name for this plant translates to "shyness grass". The species epithet, pudica, is Latin for "bashful" or "shrinking". Because of its curious nature and easy procreation. Its Sinhala name is Nidikumba, where 'nidi' means 'sleep'.

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You can see a cool video at
in fact they even sell growing kits to grow your own.
I just ordered a few of the Greenhouses. It really look awesome. I cant wait to see it move!

yes, indeed, the sensitive plant IS a shy little thing, but the lack of a video is my fault. but i fixed it now, so i hope you get a chance to watch it.

Apparently nobody knows for sure why it does this. It may help conserve moisture and heat, and the plant does this spontaneously at night. It may also be the vegetable version of playing possum - mimicking withered leaves to encourage browsing herbivores to look elsewhere for apparently more healthy leaves to eat.

Perhaps both explanations are right, with a mechanism originally evolved to conserve water and heat at night later being expanded to become a deception for predators during the day.

By Emory Kimbrough (not verified) on 08 Apr 2008 #permalink