Mimosa pudica

Mimosa pudica
(Mimosa pudica)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Mimosoideae
Genus: Mimosa
Species: M. pudica
Binomial name
Mimosa pudica

Mimosa pudica (from Latin: pudica "shy, bashful or shrinking"; also called Sensitive Plant and the touch-me-not), is a creeping annual or perennial herb often grown for its curiosity value: the compound leaves fold inward and droop when touched or shaken, re-opening minutes later. The species is native to South America and Central America, but is now a pantropical weed.



Mimosa pudica folding leaflets inward.
Mimosa pudica seeds
Mimosa pudica in Goa, India.
The fruit of Mimosa pudica

The stem is erect in young plants, but becomes creeping or trailing with age. The stem is slender, branching, and sparsely to densely prickly, growing to a length of 1.5 m (5 ft). The leaves of the mimosa pudica are compound leaves.

The leaves are bipinnately compound, with one or two pinnae pairs, and 10-26 leaflets per pinna. The petioles are also prickly. Pedunculate (stalked) pale pink or purple flower heads arise from the leaf axils. The globose to ovoid heads are 8–10 mm in diameter (excluding the stamens). On close examination, it is seen that the floret petals are red in their upper part and the filaments are pink to lavender. The fruit consists of clusters of 2-8 pods from 1–2 cm long each, these prickly on the margins. The pods break into 2-5 segments and contain pale brown seeds some 2.5 mm long. The flowers are pollinated by the wind and insects.[2] The seeds have hard seed coats which restrict germination.[3]

Plant movement

Video clip showing leaves closing after being touched

Mimosa pudica is well known for its rapid plant movement.

Mimosa pudica with leaves closed

Like a number of other plant species, it undergoes changes in leaf orientation termed "sleep" or nyctinastic movement. The foliage closes during darkness and reopens in light.[4]

The leaves also close under various other stimuli, such as touching, warming, blowing, or shaking. These types of movements have been termed seismonastic movements. The movement occurs when specific regions of cells lose turgor pressure, which is the force that is applied onto the cell wall by water within the cell vacuoles and other cell contents. When the plant is disturbed, specific regions on the stems are stimulated to release chemicals including potassium ions which force water out of the cell vacuoles and the water diffuses out of the cells, producing a loss of cell pressure and cell collapse; this differential turgidity between different regions of cells results in the closing of the leaflets and the collapse of the leaf petiole. This characteristic is quite common within the Mimosoideae subfamily of the legume family, Fabaceae. The stimulus can also be transmitted to neighboring leaves. It is not known exactly why Mimosa pudica evolved this trait, but many scientists think that the plant uses its ability to shrink as a defense from predators. Animals may be afraid of a fast moving plant and would rather eat a less active one. Another possible explanation is that the sudden movement dislodges harmful insects.[citation needed]

Taxonomy and nomenclature

Mimosa pudica was first formally described by Carl Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.[5] The species epithet, pudica, is Latin for "bashful" or "shrinking", alluding to its shrinking reaction to contact.

Common names

The species is known by numerous common names including

Other non-English common names include morí-viví or moriviví [8] (Dominican Republic and other Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands, roughly translating to "dies then lives"), Dormilona[citation needed] (Costa Rica, roughly translating to "sleepyhead"), Makahiya (Philippines, with maka- meaning "quite" or "tendency to be", and -hiya meaning "shy", or "shyness")[citation needed]. In Tonga it is known as mateloi (false death).[9] In Urdu it is known as CHui-Mui. In Bengali, this is known as Lojjaboti, the shy virgin. In Indonesia, it is known as Putri Malu (Shy Princess). In Malayalam it is called "Thottavaadi" (wilts by touch). In Marathi it is called "LazaLu" (shy). In Tamil, it is called Thotta-siningi (acts when touched) and in Kannada, it is known as "Muttidare Muni" (angered by touch). In Malaysian it is called Pokok Semalu (shy plant) and in Burmese (Myanmar) it is called Hti Ka Yoan which means "crumbles when touched".


Mimosa pudica is native to South America and Central America. It has been introduced to many other regions and is regarded as an invasive species in Tanzania, South Asia and South East Asia and many Pacific Islands.[7] It is regarded as invasive in parts of Australia and is a declared weed in the Northern Territory,[10] and Western Australia although not naturalized there.[11] Control is recommended in Queensland.[12] It has also been introduced to Nigeria, Seychelles, Mauritius and East Asia but is not regarded as invasive in those places.[7] In the United States of America, it grows in Florida, Hawaii, Virginia, Maryland, Puerto Rico, Texas, and the Virgin Islands.[13]

Agricultural impacts

Mimosa pudica in Goa, India.
Mimosa pudica seedling

The species can be a troublesome weed in tropical crops, particularly when fields are hand cultivated. Crops it tends to affect are corn, coconuts, tomatoes, cotton, coffee, bananas, soybeans, papaya, and sugar cane. Dry thickets may become a fire hazard.[2] In some cases it has become a forage plant although the variety in Hawaii is reported to be toxic to livestock.[2][14]

Mimosa pudica can form root nodules that are inhabitable by nitrogen fixing bacteria.[15] The bacteria are able to convert atmospheric nitrogen, which plants can not use, into a form that plants can use. This trait is common among plants in the Fabaceae family.


In cultivation, this plant is most often grown as an indoor annual, but is also grown for groundcover. Propagation is generally by seed.

Chemical constituents

Mimosa pudica contains the toxic alkaloid mimosine, which has been found to also have antiproliferative and apoptotic effects.[16] The extracts of Mimosa pudica immobilize the filariform larvae of Strongyloides stercoralis in less than one hour.[17] Aqueous extracts of the roots of the plant have shown significant neutralizing effects in the lethality of the venom of the monocled cobra (Naja Kaouthia). It appears to inhibit the myotoxicity and enzyme activity of cobra venom. [18]

See also


  1. ^ "Mimosa pudica information from NPGS/GRIN". www.ars-grin.gov. http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?24405. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  2. ^ a b c "Mimosa pudica L.". US Forest Service. http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/pdf/shrubs/Mimosa%20pudica.pdf. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  3. ^ Chauhan, Bhagirath S. Johnson; Davi, E. (2009). "Germination, emergence, and dormancy of Mimosa pudica". Weed Biology and Management 9 (1): 38–45. doi:10.1111/j.1445-6664.2008.00316.x 
  4. ^ Raven, Peter H.; Evert, Ray F.; Eichhorn, Susan E. (January 2005). "Section 6. Physiology of Seed Plants: 29. Plant Nutrition and Soils". Biology of Plants (7th ed.). New York: W. H. Freeman and Company. p. 639. ISBN 978-0-7167-1007-3. LCCN 2004053303. OCLC 56051064. http://books.google.com/?id=8tz2aB1-jb4C&pg=PA58. 
  5. ^ "Mimosa pudica". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. http://www.anbg.gov.au/cgi-bin/apni?taxon_id=20037. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Mimosa pudica L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Area. http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?24405. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 
  7. ^ a b c "Mimosa pudica". Usambara Invasive Plants. Tropical Biology Association. http://www.tropical-biology.org/research/dip/species/Mimosa%20pudica.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  8. ^ "The Sensitive Plant". Union County College Biology Department. http://faculty.ucc.edu/biology-ombrello/POW/sensitive_plant.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 
  9. ^ Churchward, C. Maxwell (1959). Tongan Dictionary. Tonga: Government Printing Press. p. 344. 
  10. ^ "Declared Weeds in the NT - Natural Resources, Environment and The Arts". Archived from the original on 2008-02-26. http://web.archive.org/web/20080226133716/http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/natres/weeds/ntweeds/declared.html. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  11. ^ "Declared Plants- Sensitive plant common (Mimosa pudica)". http://agspsrv95.agric.wa.gov.au/dps/version02/01_plantview.asp?page=7&contentID=60&. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  12. ^ "Common Sensitive Plant". Invasive plants and animals. Biosecurity Queensland. Archived from the original on 2009-04-19. http://web.archive.org/web/20090419005950/http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/cps/rde/xbcr/dpi/IPA-Common-Sensitive-Plant-PP38.pdf. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  13. ^ Distribution of Mimosa pudica in the United States of America Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture.
  14. ^ "Mimosa pudica (PIER species info)". http://www.hear.org/pier/species/mimosa_pudica.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  15. ^ Elmerich, Claudine; Newton, William Edward (2007). Associative and endophytic nitrogen-fixing bacteria and cyanobacterial associations. Springer. p. 30. ISBN 9781402035418. http://books.google.com/books?id=hiEkEBI1-Y8C&pg=PA30 
  16. ^ "Antiproliferative effect of mimosine in ovarian cancer". Journal of Clinical Oncology. http://meeting.ascopubs.org/cgi/content/abstract/23/16_suppl/3200. Retrieved 2010-01-13. 
  17. ^ Robinson RD, Williams LA, Lindo JF, Terry SI, Mansingh A (1990). "Inactivation of strongyloides stercoralis filariform larvae in vitro by six Jamaican plant extracts and three commercial anthelmintics". West Indian Medical Journal 39 (4): 213–217. PMID 2082565. 
  18. ^ "Journal of Ethnopharmacology : Neutralisation of lethality, myotoxicity and toxic enzymes of Naja kaouthia venom by Mimosa pudica root extracts". ScienceDirect. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874100003731. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mimosa pudica — Mimosa Mi*mo sa (?; 277), n. [NL., fr. Gr. ? imitator. Cf. {Mime}.] (Bot.) A genus of leguminous plants, containing many species, and including the sensitive plants ({Mimosa sensitiva}, and {Mimosa pudica}). [1913 Webster] Note: The term mimosa… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Mimosa pudica — Sensitive Pour une définition du mot « sensitive », voir l’article sensitive du Wiktionnaire …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mimosa pudica —   Mimosa sensitiva …   Wikipedia Español

  • Mimosa pudica — Mimose Mimose (Mimosa pudica) Systematik Unterklasse: Rosenähnliche (Rosidae) Ordnung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mimosa pudica — jautrioji mimoza statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Pupinių šeimos dekoratyvinis, vaistinis augalas (Mimosa pudica), kilęs iš Amerikos atogrąžų. atitikmenys: lot. Mimosa pudica angl. humble plant; mimosa; sensitive plant; sensitive plant;… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • Mimosa pudica — Sensitive Sen si*tive, a. [F. sensitif. See {Sense}.] 1. Having sense of feeling; possessing or exhibiting the capacity of receiving impressions from external objects; as, a sensitive soul. [1913 Webster] 2. Having quick and acute sensibility,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Mimosa pudica — ID 53769 Symbol Key MIPU8 Common Name shameplant Family Fabaceae Category Dicot Division Magnoliophyta US Nativity Native to U.S. US/NA Plant Yes State Distribution FL, HI, MD, PR, VA, VI Growth Habit Forb/herb Dur …   USDA Plant Characteristics

  • Mimosa pudica — noun prostrate or semi erect subshrub of tropical America, and Australia; heavily armed with recurved thorns and having sensitive soft grey green leaflets that fold and droop at night or when touched or cooled • Syn: ↑sensitive plant, ↑touch me… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Mimosa pudica — …   Википедия

  • Mimosa pudica — The sensitive plant whose leaflets fold inwards very rapidly when touched. A more vigorous stimulus causes the whole leaf to droop, and the stimulus can be transmitted to neighbouring leaves …   Dictionary of molecular biology

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