SENSITIVE PLANT MIMOSA, Touch Me Not, Mimosa pudica
Mimosa pudica (also called sensitive plant, sleepy plant, Dormilones, touch-me-not, or shy plant) is a creeping annual or perennial herb of the pea family Fabaceae often grown for its curiosity value: the compound leaves fold inward and droop when touched or shaken, defending themselves from harm, and re-open a few minutes later. The species is native to South America and Central America, and can also be found in Asia in countries such as Bangladesh, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Japan, Sri Lanka and well across the southern part of the United States . It grows mostly in undisturbed shady areas, under trees or shrubs.
The stem is erect in young plants, but becomes creeping or trailing with age. It can hang very low and become floppy. The stem is slender, branching, and sparsely to densely prickly, eventually growing to a length of 1.5 m (5 ft).
Mimosa pudica is well known for its rapid plant movement. 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. This was first studied by the French scientist Jean-Jacques d'Ortous de Mairan. The leaflets also close when stimulated in other ways, such as touching, warming, blowing, or shaking. 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 herbivores. 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.
In cultivation, this plant is most often grown as an indoor annual, but is also grown for groundcover. Propagation is generally by seed. Germination is very reliable. Mimosa pudica grows most effectively in nutrient poor soil that allows for substantial water drainage. However, this plant is also shown to grow in scalped and eroded subsoils. Typically, disrupted soil is necessary in order for M. pudica to become established in an area. Additionally, the plant is intolerant and frost-sensitive, meaning that it does not tolerate low levels of light or cold temperatures. Mimosa pudica does not compete for resources with larger foliage or forest canopy undergrowth.
Seeds per pack: 10
Germination: Before planting, soak seeds in warm water for 18-24 hours. Your planting container should have holes in the bottom for excess water to drain. For best results, obtain a sterile seed-start mix, and place just under the surface of the growing medium. Keep moist until germination, which can take about 2 weeks. You can cover the container with clear plastic if you wish, to retain moisture until germination. Once seeds emerge, place the pot in bright place, or under bright grow lights.