Moving Plant Mimosa Pudica Responds To Touch Stimuli

ViralVideoUKPublished: November 28, 201779 views
Published: November 28, 2017

Meet this neat little plant and be amazed by its amazing ability. Apparently, when you touch its leaves, it closes and reopens them in just a few minutes. This perennial plant native to South America and Central America is well-known for its ability to fold up its leaves rapidly when touched therefore earning the nickname “the sensitive plant”.

Its leaflets fold up in response to touch. The speed of this response depends on the strength of the touch stimulus. Footage shows a man using his finger to gently touch each leaf at a time resulting in leaflets slowly folding. This movement is believed to be a defence mechanism to keep herbivores and insects away. It is amazing how, in just a few minutes after the touch stimulus, the leaves actually reopen. The leaves also close up at night, when the photosynthesis process is over, and they reopen again in the morning.

Despite of its amazing ability to move, this plant doesn’t have a nervous system or muscles! Therefore it is surprising how it manages to generate such rapid movements. The science behind this is the fact that a group of cells is the base of these leaflets and act like a joint. During the day these cells are full of water which gives the cells a fairly rigid structure that holds the leaflets out. When the leaflet experiences the touch stimuli an electrical signal is transmitted through the cells and triggers the release of potassium ions and chloride ions, subsequently releasing water from the cells making them more flaccid, resulting in “joint” bending, and leaves closing. Voila! Magic!

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