Species Descriptions

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Mimosa pudica

Taxon

Family

Mimosa pudica L.

Fabaceae

 

introduced in Southeast Asia invading habitat in Hawaii
The plant introduced in Southeast Asia
Credit: Kinmatsu Lin
The plant invading habitat in Hawaii
Credit: Forest & Kim Starr, USGS

Common names: Shameplant, Common sensitive plant, sensitive grass, sensitive plant, sleeping grass, touch-me-not, shameplant

Synonyms: Mimosa tetrandra Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd., Mimosa pudica L. var. tetrandra (Willd.) DC., Mimosa unijuga Duch. & Walp., Mimosa pudica L. var. unijuga (Duch. & Walp.) Griseb.

Life form: Herb

 

Biology/Ecology:

Dispersal: Pods are often spread by floating in water. They also attach to fur of animals and to human vehicles. Introduced by humans for use as an ornamental plant, as the leaves fold up when stimulated by touch, heat or wind.

Reproduction: Often flowers all year, each plant producing around 675 seeds per year. Flowers are pink and have a diameter of 1 cm. Flowers are pollinated by both bees and wind. Pods are flat and about 2 cm long. Seeds are brown and round with a diameter of 2 or 3 mm.

Herbivores: No information available.

Resistant stages: Seeds are viable for many years.

 

Habitat:

Native habitat: No information available.

Habitat occupied in invaded range: Waste ground, open plantations, cropland, lawns and disturbed areas.

Habitat requirements:

Altitude Less than 1300 metres above sea level.
Light Full sun or light shade, intolerant of heavy shade.
Temperature Intolerant to frost.
Annual rainfall 1000 to over 2000 mm.
Soil Can grow on poor soils due to its ability to fix nitrogen. Prefers well-drained soils.

 

Distribution:

Native to South and Central America

Introduced range: Invasive in Tanzania, Australia, South and Southeast Asia, USA and many Pacific Ocean Islands. Introduced but not invasive in East Asia, Nigeria, Seychelles and Mauritius.

 

Impacts:

Ecosystem: Forms dense ground cover, preventing growth and reproduction of native plants by blocking out sunlight and preventing seeds reaching the ground. The thickets are a fire hazard when dry. Its roots produce carbon disulfide, which inhibits colonisation of the rhizosphere by fungi.

Health, social and economic: Often a major weed of agricultural fields and plantations. However, it is also sometimes valued as a forage plant. The plant contains mimonsine which may depress growth in mammals if eaten in large quantities. M. pudica is used for traditional medicine in South and Southeast Asia.

 

Management:

Mechanical: Plants can be dug out, but this is often difficult due to thorns and woody roots, especially when the plant covers a large area as dense thickets.

Chemical: Many herbicides have been effective at controlling the plant, including glyphosate, picloram (0.25 Ib/acre), triclopyr and soil applied tebuthiuron. Dicamba is sometimes effective.

Biological: Sheep grazing has been reported to control the plant.

 

References:

Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER), 2005. Available from http://www.hear.org/Pier/species/mimosa_pudica.htm (Accessed August 2006).

Land Protection, Queensland Government, 2006. Common sensitive plant. Available from http://www.nrm.qld.gov.au/factsheets/pdf/pest/pp38.pdf (Accessed August 2006).

Francis, J.K. Mimosa pudica. USDA Forest Service. Available from http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/pdf/shrubs/Mimosa%20pudica.pdf (Accessed August 2006).


Last updated October 2006

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