Why do Touch-Me-Not leaves close when touched? Science writer offers explanation

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A science writer on Twitter offered a possible explanation

As children, we were all fascinated by the “Touch-Me-Not plant,” also known as “Mimosa pudica,” which is known for quickly closing its leaves when touched. A light touch and the plant’s leaves recoil and shrink, appearing to hang. However, have you ever wondered what causes such a reaction from the plant?

A Science writer on Twitter offered a possible explanation for this, sharing videos made by Japanese scientists for a 2022 study published in Nature communication, a scientific journal. The videos showed how the plant’s electrical impulses are generated and how the leaves fold due to the presence of an insect on them.

”Have you ever touched a sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica) and marveled at the leaves that immediately fold? In this video you can see the electrical signals that send that fast movement through the plant in real time,” Ferris Jabr tweeted.

In another tweet, he wrote: “Exactly why Mimosa pudica and other plants fold their leaves is not conclusively known. Hypotheses include reducing water loss, exposing thorns, terrifying insects and appearing to have a less bulky meal. Here , M. pudica folds in response to a chewing locust”.

To explain this behavior, he went on to write: “While plants have no neurons or muscles, they are electrical – all cellular organisms are. Plants can generate waves of charged particles that travel quickly from one part of their body to another. move and trigger quickly.” moves”.

Mr. Jabr’s post has gone viral, drawing mixed reactions from nature enthusiasts who loved the fascinating explanation. “Beautiful scenery,” one user commented, while another wrote, “A childhood ‘toy’ explained!” A third was amazed, writing, “They may not have brains, but they do communicate and send electrical signals. at this.” A fourth added: “Thank you for sharing this wonderful work! As a child I used to play with these intriguing plants. In Venezuela we called them ‘dormideras’, which means something like ‘sleepy plant’.”

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According to Britain, Mimosa pudica is a spiny subshrub that grows to about 30 cm in height and is found in tropical and semi-tropical environments around the world. In addition to responding to physical stimuli, the leaves also droop in response to darkness and open again in daylight, a phenomenon known as nyctinastic movement.

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