Touch Me Not
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Touch Me Not
aturalized Photo: Tabish
Common name: Sensitive Plant, Touch-me-not • Hindi: Chui-mui छुई-मुई, Lajwanti लाजवंती • Manipuri: ꯀꯡꯐꯥꯜ ꯏꯀꯥꯏꯊꯕꯤ Kangphal ikaithabi • Tamil: தொட்டாச்சுருங்கி thottaccurungi • Malayalam: Tintarmani • Assamese: Nilajban • Bengali লজ্জাবতী Lajjabati • Kannada: ಮುಟ್ಟಿದರೆಮುನಿ Muttidare Muni, ಮುಚುಗ Muchuga, ನಾಚಿಕೆಮುಳ್ಳು Naachike mullu • Nepali: लज्जावती Lajjaawatee, बुहारी झार Buhaaree Jhaar, भुइँ लहरा Bhuin Laharaa, लाजवन्ती झार Lajawantee Jhaar, निदाउने झार Nidaaune Jhaar, नानि झार Naanee Jhaar, नानी काँडा Naanee Kaandaa • Mizo: Hlonuar
Botanical name: Mimosa pudica    Family: Mimosaceae (Touch-me-not family)

Touch Me Not is a wonderful and curious plant which is found growing wild throughout the tropical world. It native origin is unclear, but is believed to have originated in tropical America. Its fern-like leaves close up and droop when touched, usually re-opening within minutes. It has prickly stems and small, fluffy, ball shaped pink flowers in summer. It grows to a height of 50 cm with a spread of 30 cm. In some areas this plant is becoming a noxious weed. The stem is erect, slender and branching. The leaves are bipinnate, fern like and pale green- closing when disturbed. Stalked pale pink or purple flower-heads arise from the leaf axils. The round to ovoid heads are 8-10 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 1-2 cm long each, these prickly on the margins. The pods break into 2-5 segments and contain pale brown seeds some 2.5 mm long. The flowers are pollinated by the wind and insects. The seeds have hard seed coats which restricts germination.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Manipur & Uttar Pradesh.

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