Plant That Closes When Touched | The Defense Mechanism of Mimosa Pudica

Plant That Closes When Touched

When people shy away from touch, their expected behavior is to move away, cross their arms, or cover their face. But who would have known that a certain plant would exhibit the same behavior?

If you live around shrubby areas, then it is highly likely you have seen a plant that closes when touched. Watching those leaves close off to your touch is actually fun to watch, and you find yourself doing it over and over again, despite how shy the plant is feeling!

Commonly known as the “shy plant” or “shameplant”, you might not know its scientific name, which is Mimosa pudica. We’ve gathered all that you need to know about this curious little shrub.

What is the Mimosa Pudica Plant?

What is the Mimosa Pudica Plant

The Mimosa pudica plant falls in the pea or legume family of plants and is highly sensitive to touch or other external stimuli. As soon as this plant comes in contact with something, the leaves cave into each other and stay in a slumped position. After a few minutes, the leaves open up again.  

Studies have shown that such movement from the plant is a response to imminent danger. Hence, the leaves of the Mimosa pudica plant fold inwards to protect themselves from damage. 

How Does The Plant Close When Touched? 

How Does The Plant Close When Touched

If you are wondering, no – the Mimosa pudica plant does not have an advanced nervous system like humans. They do, however, have an elaborate internal mechanism with cells, water pressure, and some other biochemical reactions at work. 

Such motion in plants caused due to outside stimulus is called seismonastic movement. In terms of chemistry and biology, here is how the leaves of the Mimosa pudica plant actually close in when you touch them:

  • The pressure created from the touch causes positive potassium ions and negative chlorine ions to leave the plant cells.
  • A difference in the concentration of ions is created. The inside of the cells have less ions, whereas the outside now has more.
  • Because of this gradient in ion concentration, water leaves the cells, leading to a decrease in turgor pressure. Turgor pressure is the pressure caused by water on the walls of the cell. When there is more water inside the cell, the turgor pressure is high, and the plant and its leaves stay straight and taut.
  • As the turgor pressure decreases, the tightness within the cells is lost, and the leaves bend and close into each other. 

What Are Some Of The Benefits Of This Plant?

What Are Some Of The Benefits Of The Mimosa Pudica

In spite of the fact that the plant as a whole is not safe to eat, different parts of it and extracts have medicinal properties.

Treating joint pain

A paste made from Mimosa pudica leaves has proven to be beneficial for people suffering from arthritis, rheumatism, and other sorts of joint pains. Regularly applying the paste to the affected areas can greatly reduce the pain.

Healing wounds

Applying the juice from the plant on wounds can heal the skin and infection faster. It also provides better relief from pain caused by the wound.

No more itching

Whether it is itching caused by allergies, mosquito bites, or a minor chemical reaction, Mimosa pudica plant extract acts as a wonder against this. Using it as a paste or serum helps relieve itchy areas on the skin.

Antidote for snakebites 

Although it is extremely important to seek professional medical help in this case, the plant extract can help slow down the spread of snake venom in the body. A study has shown that using the dried root of Mimosa pudica in boiling water and drinking that solution can help prevent the venom to work. 

Reduce hair fall

Shampoos with Mimosa pudica extract have proven to help with reducing hair loss and has strengthened hair roots.   

Apart from benefits to humans, Mimosa pudica has proven to improve soil fertility. So if you see this plant in a certain area, it is likely that the soil in that place will be able to grow a lot of other plants.

Adverse Impacts of having a Mimosa pudica plant?

Despite all the health benefits, there are a few adverse properties to Mimosa pudica:

Grows everywhere

The plant might be bashful, but it sure doesn’t shy away from invading other plants’ spaces. It can sometimes inhibit the growth of crops, including C4 plant like maize and sugarcane.

Likely poisonous

Ironically, the plant can be used to treat the spread of venom, but it is highly poisonous when used the wrong way. It is a toxic plant when ingested directly and should be kept away from livestock.

How To care For A Mimosa Pudica Plant?

How To care For A Mimosa Pudica Plant

Most gardeners and plant enthusiasts like to grow Mimosa pudica because of its interesting and unusual features. Even if this plant can easily grow and survive on its own outside, there are some things to consider being able to care for it in a pot, whether indoors or in your small outdoor garden.

Moist soil

Shameplants require the soil they grow in to be moist all the time. Look through websites and video tutorials on soil mixtures that will be optimal for your plant.

Enough light

Make sure that you keep your potted Mimosa pudica in a place where there is a lot of light. You can also use a bright lightbulb.

Warmth and humidity

If the temperature is below the average room temperature, then your plan won’t bloom and will die fast. Keeping a warm lightbulb near the plant will also help during colder weather.

If you live in a tropical area, then you don’t have to worry about the humidity of your plant. If not, you can create makeshift humidifiers, which require only a few components and simple steps. Video tutorials are available online which you can refer to.


Even if you don’t find anything gripping about shrubbery, a plant like Mimosa pudica is bound to catch your curiosity. Although the touch-me-not has attributes that allow it to grow almost anywhere (except in extremely dry soil), you can still keep it as a potted plant.

All you need is a little care and maintenance. Such a plant is not just visually appealing, but interactive too! 

Mohammed Rujel

Over the Years, I have gained a lot of experience in different aspects of gardening. I actively learned about plants and how to care for them, and also have a lot of experience in dealing with pests and diseases. My expertise is on teaching how to grow healthy plants and make them look their best.

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