Mimosa pudica L, Sp. Pl. 1: 518 (1753)

Name meaning 'shy', referring to the closure of the leaves after they are touched.

Synonyms
Mimosa hispidula Kunth

Description
The stem is erect in young plants, but becomes creeping or trailing with age. The stem is slender, branching, and sparsely to densely prickly, growing to a length of 1.5 m. The leaves are bipinnately compound, with one or two pinnae pairs, and 10-26 leaflets per pinna. The petioles are also prickly. Pedunculate (stalked) pale pink or purple flower heads arise from the leaf axils. The globose to ovoid heads are 810 mm in diameter (excluding the stamens). On close examination, it is seen that the floret petals are red in their upper part and the filaments are pink to lavender. The fruit consists of clusters of 2-8 pods from 12 cm long each, these are prickly on the margins. The pods break into 2-5 segments and contain pale brown seeds some 2.5 mm long. The seeds have hard seed coats which restrict germination. [from Wikipedia] Note 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. The leaves also close under various other stimuli, such as touching, warming, blowing, or shaking.

Ecology
Growing on open, light rich places.

Distribution
Originally from Central and South America, but now pan-tropical.

Uses
Antibiotic, antimicrobial, anti-neurasthenic, antispasmodic, diuretic, nervine, poison, sedative.

Local names
Bengali: Lojjaboti.
Burma: Hti Ka Yoan.
Indonesia/Malaysia: Pokok Semalu, Putri Malu.
Philippines: Makahiya.
Tonga: Mateloi.