(Source: YouTube)
Plant is among world's fastest moving species, is a potent source of cobra antivenom

In the slender intersection of weird science, botany, and internet pop culture lies a curious photophile -- Mimosa pudica.

The plant, common in Jamaica, is among the only plants to showcase rapid plant movement -- a quick reaction to external stimuli that triggers kinesis at speeds typically only observed in other kingdoms of critters.

Sensors on the plant’s surface trigger the movement.  When touched, a signaling cascade triggers the release of potassium ions and other compounds, which rapidly dump the water in the leaf cells' vacuole organelles, triggering cell collapse and an inward folding of the leaf.

Researchers think the movement may dislodge harmful insects or discourage larger grazers. Regardless of the purpose, equally remarkable is how the leaves quickly return to their original unfolded state, by sucking up the water that vented down the leaf stalk's phloem.

The following video popped up on YouTube and has since racked up 700,000 views, and receiving shout outs from Reddit.

The new interests highlights a remarkable plant, who’s roots -- while toxic in large quantitates -- prove a potent anti-venom to bites of Asia's monocled cobra (Naja kaouthia).  Cobra venom antagonizes acetylcholine receptors throughout the nervous system via protein compounds like α-cobratoxin and α-neurotoxin.

Source: Reddit

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