This is the most interactive plant that I have ever come across. I still watch fascinated when the leaves of this plant closes when touched. It is as though it is cringing away from a possible threat. In Kannada it is known as “Muttidare Muni”, in Hindi it is known as “Chui Mui” and the botanical name is Mimosa Pudica, “Pudica” means shy.
This perennial creeper grows as a weed all over India. It belongs to the family Mimosaceae*, and the stems of these plants are prickly with small, fluffy ball shaped lilac flowers. As the stems are slender, these plants tend to spread to about 3 feet in diameter. But some species of this plant grows to a height of 5 feet. The leaves are bipinnate and alternate, which close and sag when touched. They open after few minutes. The leaves close during night and open at sunrise. The flowers are global red in the center and the filaments are lilac to pink. The flowers are about 8 – 10 mm diameter. The pods are in the form of clusters of about 2 – 5.
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 most of the regions.
Touch me not plant is grown for ground cover or as an indoor plant for its curious behavior. It grows in almost all types of soils with enough sunlight. Water the plants once in two days.
This plant is mentioned in Ayurveda texts as it has the properties to combat common cold.
*The Mimosaceae are mostly tropical and subtropical trees and shrubs comprising about 40 genera and 2,000 species. The leaves of this family are always alternate, stipulate, and bipinnately compound (rarely once-pinnate).