Sunday, August 22, 2010

Amazing Touch Sensitive Plant

I saw a "Sensitive Plant" (Mimosa pudica) at Olbricht Gardens in Madison Wisconsin. Mimosa pudica is native to South American and Central America, but grows elsewhere due to human propagation. It is primarily a novelty plant, but some find value in extractives for herbal medicine.

Below is a video that shows the action pretty well, although it is repetitive and too long.

The action is caused by a decrease in water pressure caused by the plant cells venting water to adjacent vacuoles, and reducing their internal pressure. Related plants also have this characteristic. Presumably it aids in defense from insect predators.

Interestingly, you can buy seeds on Amazon.