I was delighted to spot this extremely Unusual Creeper in the Southern Tip of Kerala near a countryside better know for Coconuts and Cashew Nuts. ( do check out a blog titled ENCHANTING WORLD OF NUTS).
Incredibly, the last time I remember seeing them was in the Himalayan foothills ( 3000 kilometers away from Kollam.Kerala) many Moons ago.
The Shy Plant ( English), Mimosa Pudica ( Scientific Name) or Sensitive Plant is absolutely fascinating as it has a unique reaction when you touch the leaves.
Chui Mui ( Hindi) or Touch Me Not ( English) is how this extremely fascinating Herb is referred to in common parlance.
Local names describe characteristics of flora perfectly, as showcased by the apt name “Chui Mui” (the sensitive one, that which wilts on a mere touch) of this “Mimosa” species which belongs to the sub family Mimosoideae and Pea family Fabaceae.
The Touch Stimulus like Light has a dramatic Effect on these species. A fellow blogger has mentioned since that they have a “Mimosa Tree” the leaves of which close once the Sun sets.
It sets off a series of chemical reactions within the Plant which make the leaves close Inside Out in Pairs. ( wikipedia has a lovely gif showing the domino effect of closure) After the entire set of leaves Fold Up the Stem carrying them droops down as well. Remarkable Reaction is it Not?
This very fascinating but inconspicuous creeper has crept into India from faraway lands in South and Central America. The mystery for me is precisely how long ago ?
Even a Gentle touch by a Lady makes the Leaves Close Up in Domino Fashion.
Will fill in more Enchanting details after a few hours as Guests have dropped in and they are protesting vehemently to my being at the Computer.
Thus with due apologies am signing off with a promise to return fast.
I try as far as possible to share details of the family to which a plant,flower or Tree belongs. The names are for unknown reasons tongue twisters and difficult to remember.
Yet, they are the key to unlocking many common characteristics shared by ALL Species belonging to ONE family.
As the Chui Mui belongs to the Pea family they are also” Nitrogen Fixers” of the Soils they inhabit.
Having fulfilled my promise of an Update, I leave you with more details and images of a Fascinating Plant which responds to a mere Touch.
Do observe how the Stem of the leaves at the top of the picture Droop downwards.