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Mimosa pudica(common name is Sensitive Plant )is a special plant of genus Mimosa in family Fabaceae. Mimosa pudica is low and its stem has many prickly branches.It has compound leaves with leafstalks and leaflets. Mimosa pudica has pink or mauve flowers form small globular heads, each borne on a short hairy stalk arising from a leaf axil (Holm et al. 1977). Mimosa pudica occurs in warm and moist habitats. Mimosa pudica is native to South and Central America. It has been introduced to many other regions and is regarded as an invasive species in Tanzania, South Asia and South East Asia and many Pacific Islands. (Tropical Biology Association. 2006).Figure.1 shows a Mimosa pudica ( Jim, 2005).
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Figure.1 Powder puff mimosa, Venice, Florida (Jim, 2005)



Leaves of Mimosa pudica fold


Mimosa pudica has an extraordinary 'product' that its leaves are able to fold when touched. This phenomenon is not because mimosa pudica is 'shy', it is because cells of mimosa pudica are stimulated and water loss. In fact, the leaves of mimosa pudica open during the day and close at night.
Flowchart 1.show the process of leaves fold.


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Flowchart 1.the process of leaves fold(own make,information bases in eHow.).

The ability to fold its leaves may benefit the mimosa pudica in three ways:
  • Folding leaves sometimes let herbivores be unappetizing.
  • The ability to fold its leaves that can reduce loss of water.
  • It is 'nyctinastic response' that the plants close their leaves when not exposed to the sun. Nyctinastic response keeps the plants safe through the night.

Video.1 shows when we touched, its leaves would fold.

Video 1. Mimosa Pudica ( YouTube,2007 )


Beneficial impacts


Mimosa pudica contains many chemical substances, such as norepinephrine, ascorbic-acid, and sitosterol. So, in medicine, the seeds, leaves, roots of mimosa pudica have great medicinal value. For example, mimosa pudica is able to be made a kind of the psychic energizer, because aqueous extracts from dried leaves of mimosa puolica are used to assuage depression. Mimosa pudica also has been shown to be helpful in the reduction of blood sugar in rodents with high blood sugar, suggesting that mimosa pudica might be helpful as a diabetic treatment in humans as well( Uses of Mimosa Pudica,eHow, 2009 ). Mimosa pudica can be hemostatic and help wound healing, such as ulcers, scrofula, and conjunctivitis. It is popular mainly for its styptic property, with which it promptly arrests the bleeding in ailments like hemorrhoids, haemoptysis in tuberculosis, menorrhagia, ulcerative colitis, dysentery and raktapitta( Ayurvedic Preparations. n.d ).

In the other hand, mimosa pudica also can predict earthquakes. Before a strong earthquake happened, mimosa pudica will atrophy suddenly, and then they will shrivel.In Japan,scientists found that leaves of mimosa pudica open during the day and close at night in normal circumstances, but when leaves of mimosa pudica open at night and close during the day, the earthquake will happen.


Harmful Impacts

In ecosystem, if mimosa pudica forms thickset ground cover, they will prevent growth and breeding of other native plants by preventing their seeds reaching the ground and competing inorganic matter.In social, economic, and health, mimosa pudica is one of major weeds for agricultural fields and plantations of corn, soybeans, tomatoes, upland rice, cotton, bananas, sugarcane, coffee, oil palms, papayas, coconuts, and rubber in many tropical areas( Bui, 2001 ). Mimosa pudica contains an alkaloid that is named as mimosine(Figure.2). The mimosine is poisonous, and it is able to cause hair peeling of animals(Figure.3).
Figure. 2 shows the chemical structure of mimosine ( Edgar,2009 ).
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Figure. 2 chemical structure of L-mimosine ( Edgar,2009 ).

Figure. 3 shows loss of tail hairs due to poisoning by the toxin mimosine
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Figure. 3 Loss of tail hairs due to poisoning by the toxin mimosine (Pascoe R, et al. 1999)




Conclusion

Mimosa pudica( Sensitive Plant ) is a valuable plant. Folding leaves of mimosa pudica is a good research topic about the plant makes reflection for enthetic stimulates in botany. In medicine, it is beneficial the treatment of some diseases, but it contains some harmful chemical matter that is against health of human and animals at the same time. So we need to be careful to use mimosa pudica. In the future, mimosa pudica may be found more value and use in more fields .

References
Information:
Mimosa pudica L. In Biological Control of Weeds. Retrieved December 07, 2010, from:
http://www.aciar.gov.au/files/node/2160/MN26%20Part%208.pdf
Mimosa pudica(2006). In Usambara Invasive Plants. Tropical Biology Association. Retrieved December 07, 2010, from:
http://www.tropical-biology.org/research/dip/species/Mimosa%20pudica.htm
Uses of Mimosa Pudica (2009). In eHow.Retrieved December 08, 2010 from:
http://www.ehow.com/about_5380509_uses-mimosa-pudica.html
'LAJJALU (Mimosa pudica)'.Herbalcureindiaindia,Lajjalu svarasa Visagarbha taila etc. Retrieved December 11, 2010, from:
http://www.herbalcureindia.com/herbs/mimosa-pudica.htm
Sensitive plan, Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd. Retrieved December 12, 2010 from:
http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/pdf/shrubs/Mimosa%20pudica.pdf
Pictures:
'Sensitive Plant '(2005). Dave's Garden. Retrieved December 07, 2010 from:
http://pics.davesgarden.com/pics/2005/05/30/IslandJim/424780.jpg
L-Mimosine,(2009),Edgar. Retrieved December 11, 2010 from:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8b/L-Mimosine.png
'Mimosine'(1999). Pascoe R, Knottenbelt DC, Manual of Equine Dermatology, Saunders. Retrieved December 12, 2010 from:
http://content.answcdn.com/main/content/img/elsevier/vet/gr263.jpg

Video:
Mimosa Pudica ( 2007 ),YouTube.Retrieved December 10, 2010 from:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0LFBM3hOLs