Shame Plant: Classification, Characteristics, Management, Reproduction and Uses


Class: Dicotyledons

Subclass: Polypetalae

Order: Rosales

Family: Leguminasae

Binomial : Mimosa pudica


Mimosa pudica is formed from the words “mimic,” which means “to allude,” and “pudica,” which means “bashful, shy, or shrinking.” Mimosa mimics animal sensitivity, such as sensitivity to light, time of day, gravity, or insect touch, as seen in sundew drosera. Mimosa is also known as the sensitive plant, the modest plant, the shame plant, the sleeping grass, the touch me not plant, the lajjalu plant in Ayurveda, and the namaskari plant in Sanskrit. Mimosa pudica is an indoor plant with a unique personality.

Shame Plant


1. It’s a member of the Mimosaceae plant family. Other names for it include sensitive plant, humble plant, shame plant, touch me not, sleeping grass, Tropical Biological Association, Prayer plant, and so on.

2. Because of its peculiar nature and ease of reproduction, the species name “pudica” is a Latin equivalent of “shrinking” or “Bashful.”

3. Mimosa is a thorny, small plant with branches that grow near the ground.

4. It can reach a height of 0.5 m and a spread of 0.3 m. Mimosa has an erect, thin, thorny, and well-branched stem, with leaves that are bipinnate, fernlike, and pale green, with a tendency to close when disturbed.

5. Leaflets 15 to 25 pairs, sharp, bristly, 9 to 12 mm long and 1.5 mm wide, quadri-pinnate, frequently crimson.

6. The flowers of this plant are axillary and lilac-pink in colour, and they bloom in globose heads. The petals are crenate at the base of the calyx, and the calyx is companulate.

7. In Indian conditions, flowering takes place from August to October. Mimosa fruits are pods that are 1.5 to 2.5 cm long, falcate, and spiky on sutures.

8. Sensitive plant is a short-lived shrub that grows prostrate or ascending. It is classified as a woody herb by some authors. When supported by other vegetation, it can attain a height of 1 m and a horizontal stretch of more than 2 m.

9. The curving prickles are sparsely or densely armed on the reddish-brown, woody stalks.

10. A taproot and large fibrous roots with nodules make up the root system.

11. The leaves have one or two pairs of pinnae and 15 to 25 pairs of rectangular leaflets 3 to 12 mm long, and the branches are thin and flexible. The leaves also droop at night, as well as when they are exposed to rain or extreme heat.

12. The pink blooms are arranged in globose heads. The legume (pod) is linear-oblong and bristly on the edges, measuring 1.0 to 1.5 cm long and 3 mm wide

13. When touched, the sensitive plant folds its leaflets and pinnae and droops downward at the petiole connection, which is the source of most of its names.

14. Defenses against herbivorous insects, nutrient leaching, or desiccation may all be factors in this reaction.

Soil conditions

Most well-drained soils, including scalped or eroded subsoils and soils with low nutrient concentrations, support sensitive plant growth. To establish itself, it requires disturbed soil. Its spread in pastures may be aided by frequent burning. Sensitive plants are shade-intolerant and don’t compete with tall vegetation or grow beneath the forest canopy. Carbon disulfide is produced by the roots of the plant, and it prevents mycorrhizal and pathogenic fungi from colonising the rhizosphere. Croplands, orchards, pastures, mowed areas, roadside ditches, and construction zones are all places where this plant can be found. It can grow alone or in tangled thickets. Sensitive plants can be found in elevations ranging from near sea level to 1,300 metres, with annual precipitation ranging from about 1000 to 2000 mm. Frost sensitivity is a feature of this species.


Sensitive plants flower all year in the Philippines and can generate up to 675 seeds per plant per year. The species are pollinated by both wind and bees. The average weight of air-dry seeds from Puerto Rico was 0.0065 0.0002 g/seed. Seeds from this collection germinated 7 days after seeding with no pretreatment and attained a maximum germination rate of 17% by 94 days. Another study found that alternating temperatures of 20 and 40 °C for four weeks resulted in 80 per cent germination. Bui suggests a hot water pretreatment followed by overnight soaking. Germination takes place on the epigeal surface. Seeds are carried via the bristles on the edges of their pods, which attach to clothing or a mammal’s fur. Seeds are utilised for the majority of nursery and home propagation, however, summer cuttings can be employed as well.


In Puerto Rico, sensitive plants have a lifespan of one to two years. Seedlings grow slowly during the first two or three months, then quickly, reaching a length of 0.5 to 2 metres by the end of the first year. Plants that make it to the second year grow at a significantly slower rate. Overwatering is a problem for both potted and field-grown plants. This species has been successfully tested and recommended for erosion control plantings in pots at a 60 x 60 cm spacing.

Benefits and detriments

1. In many tropical locations, the sensitive plant has established itself as a severe weed in corn, soybeans, tomatoes, upland rice, cotton, bananas, sugarcane, coffee, oil palms, papayas, coconuts, and rubber plantations.

2. It’s especially bothersome where weed picking is done by hand. A variety of commercial broad-leaf herbicides can be used to suppress the plant.

3. In pastures, on the other hand, it is tolerated or appreciated as a feed plant. Sheep grazing is effective in controlling sensitive plants in pastures and plantations.

4. The nitrogen fixation ability of the root nodules has been demonstrated. When dry, delicate plant thickets might provide a fire risk. Mimonsine, an amino acid that has been linked to hair loss and slow growth in animals, is found in the seeds and other plant components of sensitive plants.

5. To produce issues, however, a very large dose is required. Honeybees in the Philippines rely on pollen for survival. In scientific testing, extracts of the plant have been proven to be a moderate diuretic, diminish menorrhagia, and suppress duodenal spasms in a similar way to atropine sulphone. Humans have proven antidepressant effects. Root extracts are said to have potent emetic properties.

Physiological mechanisms

The contractibility units in the response are the parenchymatous motor cells in the pulvini. The motions are thought to be triggered by a decrease or rapid loss of turgor in the motor cells. The contraction of these vacuoles is caused by the loss of various salts in the cell, and the recovery (expansion) is caused by the uptake of the salt-rich fluid by the vacuoles. This intracellular fluid or cell sap, which will be discharged or expelled from the cut surface of the primary pulvinus when stimulated, is high in potassium, tannins, and other chemicals. The tannin substances, whose function in plants is currently unknown, are found in the intercellular spaces inferred from these results that some of the cell constituents dissolved in the intracellular fluid or cell sap (presumably in vacuoles) are released to the exterior during stimulation, possibly resulting in a decrease in motor cell turgor. Increases in permeability to ions are required for axon conductance in animals, and this could potentially happen in Mimosa motor cells. Ionic salts are exchanged between intra- and extracellular areas when cells are stimulated, as seen above. Specialized cells in the outer and inner phloem appear to be specific to Mimosa and may serve as a conduction mechanism. The outer phloem is made up of two types of sieve tube cells. The first is a significantly wider and shorter form (where the nucleus disintegrates early during ontogenetic differentiation), whereas the second is a much longer and narrower type (where the nucleus does not disintegrate early during ontogenetic differentiation) (having a persistent nucleus with one or two nucleoli and cytoplasm). The conventional purpose of the sieve tube element is to transport solutes along the plant’s longitudinal axis, according to popular belief. Mimosa’s “conduction pathway” is comparable to that of an animal nerve, and impulse transmission follows similar patterns, so it’s easy to see why these particular phloem cells have such long-lasting cellular components. The resting membrane potential of these cells is -160mV, but when stimulated, the cell membrane becomes polarised, as it does in human cells. Petioles have a velocity of 20 mm/sec while pulvini have a velocity of 41 mm/sec. Because the potential threshold rises with repeated stimulation, the action potential shows less activity.

Metabolic mechanisms

It was discovered that when Mimosa was stimulated, potassium moved from the motor cell to the intercellular space. Potassium may operate as an osmotic agent, resulting in a decrease in pulvinar cell turgor during the seismonastic reaction, according to research. By increasing potassium concentrations in the external solution, it was discovered that the efflux of potassium from Mimosa pulvinar cells increased significantly during the seismonastic response, resulting in a reduction in potential. It was also discovered that when external potassium values were low, the permeability of the cellular membrane was reduced. Calcium ions, which are mostly found in the tannin vacuole (within the core vacuole), bind to proteins and modify their conformation when released upon stimulation. Calcium that leaves the tannin vacuole may form a compound with fibrils and therefore affect their shape. Vacuole contraction may be aided by this action.


The concentration of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in Mimosa’s motor organs, such as the primary pulvinus, is three to four times that of the plant’s non-movable sections. Higher ion leakage through the plasma membrane is associated with increased electrical and mechanical activity of the contractile vacuole, as well as increased ATPase activity. It was hypothesised that in Mimosa, an ATP-ATPase-calcium system would activate filaments or contractile proteins found in the vacuolar cytoplasm, causing pulvinus contraction. A shared mechanism between plant and animal contractile movement can thus be argued to exist based on this and earlier findings. The uptake of this ion is thought to be aided by stomatal opening ATP in guard cells. It’s possible that in Mimosa, an ATP ATPase system is engaged in the active accumulation of salts or ions, as well as in the motor ceil recovery process.


The neurohumor acetylcholine has been suggested as a possible mediator of the Mimosa movement. Because Mimosa lacks acetylcholine, serotonin and norepinephrine were tested in a variety of “sensitive” plants. Only norepinephrine was present in Mimosa. The pulvini have six times more norepinephrine than the petiole in Mimosa. However, no one knows what role norepinephrine plays in Mimosa.

Chemical sensitivity

Wallace investigated the effects of various animal anaesthetics on Mimosa. He investigated the effects of ether, acetylene, chloroform, and ethylene on Mimosa’s nyctinastic response. 27 Only ether and acetylene were found to be inhibitors of such responses. The concentration of ether required to prevent the nighttime shutting was different from the concentration required to prevent the morning opening. On seismonastic reaction, it was discovered that ether vapour at concentrations ranging from 13 to 25% (to volume of air) stopped the movement of leaflets and petioles for 10 to 45 minutes after exposure and then regained it after a few minutes. Plant sensitivity is decreased by methyl alcohol, but not by ethyl alcohol. Applewhite investigated the effects of chemical sensitivity on Spirostomum and Mimosa to discover if chemicals had a specific influence on response sensitivity or if they had a broad general effect. Except for picrotoxin, they show identical results.

Leaves of Shame Plant

Traditional uses

1. The Mimosa pudica plant, also known as the “touch me not” plant, the “shame” plant, or laajvanti, is a popular show plant due to the mysterious action of its leaves, which close when touched.

2. Headaches, migraines, sleeplessness, diarrhoea, dysentery, fever, and piles are all treated with M. pudica L. Decoctions of the roots are used to cure urinary problems and disorders caused by contaminated blood and bile (Kirtikar et al 1975).

3. The leaves paste is applied to a glandular swollen dressing for sinus relief (Nayagam et al 1999). Bronchitis, cholera, cough, dyspepsia, fever, jaundice, smallbox, syphilis, and tuberculosis are among the ethnobotanical applications of this species

4. Its root is bitter, acrid, cooling, vulnerary, alexipharmic, and is used in the treatment of leprosy, dysentery, vaginal and uterine complaints, inflamations, burning feeling, asthma, leukoderma, weariness, and blood illnesses, according to Ayurveda.

5. The root of the Unani Healthcare system is a resolvent alternative that is beneficial in the treatment of diseases caused by blood impurities and bile, such as bilious fevers, piles, jaundice, and leprosy.

6. To relieve toothache, a decoction of the root is mixed with water and gargled. In cases of diarrhoea, amoebic dysentery, and bleeding piles, it’s a good idea to take it. It’s also seen in gynaecological disease herbal remedies. Its extract can be used to treat skin problems.

 7. It has been recommended by several herbal doctors for bronchitis, general weakness, and importance.

8. Mimosa pudica is also used for a variety of therapeutic uses, including the treatment of depression, piles, insomnia, and a variety of other ailments. It’s also been employed in the dental field.

9. It has been used for tooth decay and bleeding gums in India and around the world, according to the literature.

10. There have been various publications on Mimosa pudica L.’s antibacterial action, and it has been widely utilised in Siddha, Ayurvedic, Unani, and Homeopathic medicine, as well as in modern medicine. It is also utilised for Jaundice, Asthma, Conjunctivitis, Cut Wounds, and Glandular Swelling.

11. The liver is responsible for metabolism, secretary function, and various illnesses in the body. The plant’s antiseptic, antimicrobial, antimalarial, immunostimulating, and diuretic properties have been well established, and it’s used to treat flu, cough, rabies, and tuberculosis, among other ailments. It’s believed to have sedative, emetic, and tonic effects, and it’s been used for centuries to cure a variety of disorders like alopecia, diarrhoea, dysentery, insomnia, tumours, and urinogenital infections, among others.


Question: What is the Scientific name of Shame Plant?

ANS: Mimosa pudica

Question: Which Family does Shame Plant belong to?

ANS: Leguminasae

Question: In which conditions does the Same plant grow best?

ANS: Most well-drained soils, including scalped or eroded subsoils and soils with low nutrient concentrations, support sensitive plant growth. To establish itself, it requires disturbed soil. Its spread in pastures may be aided by frequent burning. Sensitive plants are shade-intolerant and don’t compete with tall vegetation or grow beneath the forest canopy.

Question: What is the common name Mimosa pudica?

ANS: Mimosa is also known as the sensitive plant, the modest plant, the shame plant, the sleeping grass, the touch me not plant, the lajjalu plant in Ayurveda, and the namaskari plant in Sanskrit. Mimosa pudica is an indoor plant with a unique personality.

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