Why do touch-me-not plants' leaves close when touched? The mystery about the “Mimosa pudica” is solved here!
The “Mimosa Pudica’, popularly known as the touch-me-not plant is perhaps the most mysterious of all.
Ever since mankind discovered this plant, people have been wondering why the plant shuts its leaves with every encounter or touch.
Try touching a touch-me-not plant that will tell you the importance of consent; the leaves will droop, recoil, and shrink, leaving you baffled.
This is what actually happens
It was a group of Japanese researchers that shot footage for a 2022 study published in the journal Nature Communications in which it is shown how the presence of an insect on a plant creates electrical impulses to be created, making its leaves fold. This video kickstarted further research on the Mimosa plant.
What makes the plant fold its leaves?
Plants like Mimosa fold their leaves in moments when they sense thorn exposure, decreased water loss, predator insects, and other such factors, as per some hypotheses.
Plants are in reality electric. Do you know how humans do what they do, or how the behavior is regulated? The secret lies in the human nervous system, and the basis of the human nervous system is the electrical impulse that gets activated in a neuron and is passed on to the other.
Now, even if plants do not have brains and muscles like humans and other biological creatures, they still are electric. They can generate waves of charged particles that smoothly flow from one area of the body to another, causing fast motions.
Explaining Mimosa Pudica
As per Britannica, Mimosa Pudica is a spiny subshrub that has the ability to touch a height of around 30 cm. It can be seen in tropical and semi-tropical environments all over the globe. The leaves react toward physical stimuli. They also respond to light and darkness. When in dark, the leaves of the Mimosa Pudica plant droop, and when in light, the leaves reopen. This phenomenon is termed the Nyctinastic movement.