ID Plant Reacting To Touch

madmatt100August 23, 2005


While visiting relatives, they showed my family and I a plant in their backyard. It seemed to grow from a central root area, with shoots going in multiple directions within a 4' radius. There are reddish-brown leaves/petals on each shoot.

What is most peculiar is that, if one were to brush one's fingertips on either a subshoot,or a petal/leaf, the entire length of the subshoot or petal will deliberately contract on itself; touch a shoot, and one can see an entire length close towards the main vine in seconds (forcefully as well, not merely imagined).

Would anyone be able to Identify this interesting plant? All my relatives could say was that it's kind were being given away at a local flower ship with purchases. If anyone has a guess, please let me know.

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I think prayer plant does that, but it's a houseplant.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 10:07PM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

Sensitive plant....a variety of mimosa...rather common.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 10:30PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Prayer plants don't respond to touch. Their form of response to environmental stimuli (tropism) is called nyctinastic tropism....reponse to night and day. Thigmotropism is the reponse to a physical touch of some sort. The Mimosa pudica ('Sensitive Plant) is a very common weed in many parts of the country, and considered an oddity by those who are not familiar with it. I've seen it sold in supermarkets, etc.

If this isn't the plant in question (it's impossible to tell from your description), I'd be surprised.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 12:14PM
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I think rhizo1 is right. It could be Mimosa pudica. I remember it from a high school project about such peculiar plants. We used to call it "Touch-me-not". It would shrink back upon touching it.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 5:18PM
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I have a Mimosa pudica that I brought home for my daughter to tease. It is now over 4 feet in width and 1 foot high. I plan to use them as ground cover next year in one of my beds. It blooms regularly with fifty to one hundred of these little purple pom poms every few days or so. And actually, entire branches will droop in response to stimuli. It's a defense mechanism which exposes the thorns on the branches to animals attempting to eat the leaves.

Mimosa pudica

    Bookmark   August 27, 2005 at 5:08PM
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firethorn(Zone 4 MN)

If the stupid thing is a weed, then why is mine dying? :^(

    Bookmark   August 27, 2005 at 11:27PM
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