(Video) Shameful Plant – Have You Seen It In Action?
This plant will bring hours of entertainment to kids of any age. The Sensitive Plant actually moves when you touch its leaves. The fine leaflets open in the daylight, yet when touched will collapse downward. Give them an hour or so and up they’ll come again. As plants mature, they form small pink puffs of bloom adding an extra benefit to this unique species. What a perfect way to introduce children to the world of plants.
Robert Hooke (English scientist famous for his microscopy work, 1635-1703) was one of the first people to investigate the movements of Mimosa pudica, and at that time it had been suggested that plants had nerves and tissues similar to those in animals. It was later discovered that the leaves fold as a result of the internal movement of water, and the mechanics of the process are now well-documented. A stimulus, such as touch or air movement, triggers certain areas of the stem to release chemicals, which cause water to move out of cell vacuoles and leads to cell collapse.
This rapid plant movement is thought to act as a defence against herbivores, which may be deterred by the dramatic response, or if they are small, may be dislodged as the leaves collapse.
But beware, it contains the alkaloid mimosine (a hydroxamino acid of aromatic nature), which in large doses is toxic to humans and animals. The plant stem is armed with sharp prickles.
Take a look at this interesting video where you can see it in action: