- Scientific name: Mimosa pudica
- Family: Fabaceae (pea, bean, mimosa)
Semi-erect or ground-hugging herb up to 80cm tall, often forming a small bush. Heavily armed with small thorns. Leaves composite, sensitive and soft-textured. Flowers pale pink to lilac, in stalked heads up to 2cm in diameter. Fruits pod-like up to 18mm long with prickly margins. Pollinated by wind and insects.
The plant that moves
The Sensitive Plant (Mimosa pudica) folds up its leaves when touched.Play video
- This plant can move – its leaves fold up at night and also when touched.
- It has a primitive nervous system of electrical impulses that trigger changes in cell water pressure at the base of the leaflets.
Where it grows
Although native to Central and South America, this plant can be found in most tropical climes, usually in disturbed land around construction sites, orchards and agricultural land. In some countries it is classed as an invasive.
- Composite: composed of several similar parts.
- Herb: plant with fleshy parts rather than a persistent woody stem above ground.