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Unusual Plants - The Touch-Me-Not Plant

Updated on April 9, 2015

One of the most unusual plants I've been fascinated by since I was a child goes by the scientific name of Mimosa pudica. Anyone who comes across this plant would be fascinated by its response to touch. The "pudica" part of the name means "shy." The name is justified as when you touch the leaves of this plant, they fold inwards and shut for a few moments. Its not surprising therefore that it is also commonly called as the "touch-me-not" plant. The closing motion of the leaves is quite dramatic and you almost feel as if the plant is alive - one of the reasons why children especially are fascinated by it.

It is thought that the plant uses this feature to thwart predators. The shrinking and closing of the leaves is thought to startle potential predators, thereby ensuring its survival. The plant is used as an ornamental plant due to this unique ability and its immense curiosity value. It also has a beautiful flower that adds to the ornamental appeal. The plant, however, is thought to be toxic if ingested. It has some hard bristles too that make it quite challenging to handle.

The mimosa pudica plant.
The mimosa pudica plant. | Source

The plant can be dangerous for children because of the bristles and toxic nature. You wouldn't want children getting injured playing with the plant or ingesting any part of this plant. This greatly diminishes the attractiveness of having this plant as a home ornamental plant. It is also increasingly being seen as a weed in many parts of the world.

Nonetheless, one can't deny the fact that Mimosa pudica or the "touch-me-not" plant is a compelling and fascinating plant. It is a plant unlike the usual plants one comes across.

© 2009 Shil1978


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      ray adcock 4 years ago

      touch me not plant is great for treating poison ivy sqeeze juice onto poison ivy .better than any perscription

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 5 years ago

      DW, thank you for stopping by and commenting. Yes, fascinating plants, they are! Plants are usually considered inanimate, so to see a plant that actually seems to move to touch is quite a surprise! Nice to hear you have the Mimosa Tree on your property! You may perhaps know that they have medicinal uses!!

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 5 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Nice article. These are truly beautiful and fascinating plants. One of my favorite, and fast growing trees, is the Mimosa Tree. They thrive well in full sun, hot weather, and their pink flowers are truly awesome when they bloom in the spring. I have them all over my property. They grow fast and provide shade for plants that are less tolerant to the direct sunlight.

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      Leah 6 years ago

      You can burn it under the right weather conditions, depending on the laws regarding burning off in your local area.

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      Mimosa Eater 7 years ago

      AGGGGHGH! i ate one 3 days ago! BLECHCHCH

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      Vidhya Das 7 years ago

      hi, in our part of the world, the beautiful touch-me-not is noxious weed. i am looking for ways and means to control it without using herbicides. If anybody has any ideas and/or experience, please let me know

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      Jen 8 years ago

      There are varieties are mimosa that are consider as being possibly toxic however the usda and other source show the mimosa pudica to be a safe plant for kids. In fact it is now seen as kids favorite plant. It is considered a week in places like Australia. Here in the USA it can be grown indoors as a house plant. I found the best supplies to do this at