Sensitive Plant – Mimosa pudica

Sensitive Plant taken in the Bayous of Loisiana
Sensitive Plant taken in the Bayous of Loisiana

Whether the sensitive Plant, or that

Which within its boughs like a Spirit sat,

Ere its outward form had known decay,

Now felt this change, I cannot say…

By Percy Bysshe Shelley


The leaves of this native of South America are sensitive to the touch. Barely a touch causes the leaves to fold and droop. When my husband and I were traveling through Louisiana we stopped at the Welcome Center off I 20, eastbound. We were leaving east Texas, heading towards Shrevesport. While there we saw plants we had never seen before….among them this very entertaining ground hugging plant.

In Ayurvedic medicine the root is the most commonly used part, but the leaves, flowers, bark, and fruit are also utilized in medicine. It is considered bitter, acrid, and cooling. It is used in the treatment of biliousness, leprosy, dysentery, vaginal and uterine complaints, inflammations, burning sensation, fatigue, asthma, leucoderma, blood diseases etc.

The leaves have been used in the past for insomnia, by placing them beneath the pillow at night. The leaves and branches made into tea is used as a relaxant, pain reliever and to help with sleep.

It is believed that the plant is toxic to Humans and other mammals due to the presence of mimonsine (an amino acid) in all parts. When eaten in massive quantities it is known to cause hair loss, and depressed growth.

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