Sensitive Water Plant
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Sensitive Water Plant
ative Photo: Pravabati Chingangbam
Common name: Sensitive Water Plant, Water mimosa, Garden puff • Hindi: लजालू Lajalu, छुई मुई Chui-mui • Manipuri: ꯏꯁꯤꯡ ꯏꯀꯥꯏꯊꯕꯤ Ishing ikaithabi • Tamil: Sundaikkirai • Malayalam: Nittitoddavaddi • Telugu: Nirutalavapu • Kannada: ನಿದ್ರಾಯಮ Nidrayam • Bengali: পানীলজক Panilajak • Sanskrit: Alambusa • Mizo: Dum-zawngtah
Botanical name: Neptunia oleracea    Family: Mimosaceae (Touch-me-not family)
Synonyms: Neptunia natans, Neptunia prostrata

As the common name suggests, the leaves, like the land based Touch Me Not plant, close when they are touched. The floating (mature) stems of this tropical plant are covered in spongy tissue, full of air cells. This plant has a thick taproot that becomes woody. Stems can be up to 1.5 m long becoming detached from primary root system and forming spongy-fibrous swollen internodes, like little drums to float, and rooting at nodes when growing in water. It is found in fresh water ponds, swamps and canals in South-East Asia at low altitudes up to 300 m. The plant will perish once the water level falls and it prefers 30-80 cm depth of slow moving water, full sun and hot humid conditions to survive. This plant can be consumed as a vegetable, raw, cooked or fried.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.

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