Why are Sensitive plants (Mimosa) sensitive?

taguebw at REMOVEwfu.edu taguebw at REMOVEwfu.edu
Fri Aug 28 05:25:41 EST 1998

In article <6s4h45$aaj$1 at nnrp1.dejanews.com>, horthhill at my-dejanews.com wrote:

> Just wondering if anyone has a definitive idea
> why sensitive plants are sensitive? What advantage
> if any does it confer?

Last I knew there was not a definitive answer to this question. 

One idea is that the folded up leaf looks more like an uninteresting woody
stem rather than a nice juicy leaf to creatures looking for a snack. That
idea was in the video A secret?/private? Life of Plants (sorry I can never
remember which is which: one is a great video series on plant life/one is
a pseudoscientific treatise on plants). There was a great shot in the
video of an insect landing on the leaf, the leaf folding up and the insect
falling off. That's one way to discourage herbivory!

Another idea I've heard is that the folding helps to direct rain water
closer to the base of the plant, kind of a like a gutter system that folds
down and closer to the stem.

But again, I do not know if there is a *definitive* answer.

My 2 electrons,


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