Print 26 comment(s) - last by CyberPinoy.. on Sep 12 at 3:24 AM

  (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

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

the sensitive plant
By AnnihilatorX on 9/6/2012 11:16:00 AM , Rating: 3
Mimosa Pudica is known as the sensitive plant, children loves them. But 'playing' with them too much may stress out the plant and damage them.

I am from Hong Kong and used to see it grow in the wild everywhere a decade ago. Nowadays it's extremely hard to find them in the wild, I am not sure why.

RE: the sensitive plant
By BioHazardous on 9/6/2012 11:41:34 AM , Rating: 4
I am from Hong Kong and used to see it grow in the wild everywhere a decade ago. Nowadays it's extremely hard to find them in the wild, I am not sure why.

Survival of the fittest. As if a sensitive plant stood a chance.

RE: the sensitive plant
By geddarkstorm on 9/6/2012 12:30:19 PM , Rating: 3
It survived this long just fine until a decade ago? It's reactions are part of its fitness; what changed just a decade ago that would no longer make the plant as fit in its natural habitat as before? I dunno, but I think that video may offer some clues, hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

RE: the sensitive plant
By Ringold on 9/8/2012 10:32:26 AM , Rating: 2
If it really was just a decade ago, Hong Kong was just about as heavily developed then as now, unless I've missed something?

RE: the sensitive plant
By TSS on 9/6/2012 2:56:06 PM , Rating: 5
HAH! The plant was emo, so it cut itself.

RE: the sensitive plant
By CZroe on 9/7/2012 12:45:53 PM , Rating: 2
I remember a KidSeed kit in the late '80s or early '90s that gave all the seed varieties character names and this plant was named something like "Weepin' Willie."

RE: the sensitive plant
By Newspapercrane on 9/6/2012 5:56:42 PM , Rating: 5
That's because the girls say they're looking for the "Sensitive" plants, but what they really want are the "Bad" plants. You know, the ones with thorns.

RE: the sensitive plant
By xti on 9/6/2012 12:03:40 PM , Rating: 3
reminds me of puffer fish...its cool to see them inflate, but it could kill them.

RE: the sensitive plant
By tayb on 9/6/2012 12:13:44 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know anything about this plant but if your second sentence is true that seems as if it would be the answer to your question as to why they are disappearing from the wild.

RE: the sensitive plant
By Greenisgood on 9/6/2012 1:40:28 PM , Rating: 1
Click here
to see the TickleMe Plant video that is going viral and
to get the seeds,kits and party favors and book to grow your own

RE: the sensitive plant
By kidsgardener on 9/6/2012 2:23:53 PM , Rating: 2
We grow these will all our students at school, they love this plant. We found the greatest choices of seed kits and freshest seeds at They wrote The Sensitive Plant book and are considered the best source by most catalogs.

RE: the sensitive plant
By rival209 on 9/7/2012 12:17:46 AM , Rating: 3
good for hong kong, this plant is a damn weed in Hawaii and other tropical regions. who cares if its curls up, its spinney and sucks to walk on in a place where there were never any native plants that evolved thorns or spines because of the lack of predators. soon you wont be able to cruise around barefoot in a place that was evolutionary designed to be walked barefoot! burn it with some diesel, make sure the roots die!!! its way more amusing than a stupid viral video on youtube!

RE: the sensitive plant
By rival209 on 9/7/2012 12:19:55 AM , Rating: 1
stupidity is contagious!

What is newsworthy in this???
By Basilisk on 9/6/2012 12:44:17 PM , Rating: 5
"Sensitive Plants" aka "Prayer Plants" [aka a dozen other names] have been well known -- available at nurseries -- since I was in college 45 years ago. That's only as far back as my recollections go... so I suspect it's been widely known for decades or centuries before that.

There are videos of this on youtube that were posted 4+ years ago. "Going viral!!!!!" Wheee! Good grief.

Why bother titling with "when touched by humans" when it's a generalized stimulation response -- I vaguely recall (from my experience 40 years ago) that a sharp puff of breath can trigger it [no halitosis jokes if you please].

While I'll try to recall this article when I'm next bitten by a cobra -- my everyday risk here in the States -- a quick Googling of this topic suggests you're more likely to benefit from Mimosa extract if you're a lab' mouse than if you're bitten in the wild. "Although the herb based alternative therapy has proven to be an exciting prospect, clinical trials and standardization are still due in order to include them in drug discovery programs." [2012] But, yes, it's a topic that's been considered for over a decade -- and has been reported as useful in "ethnic treatments".

This must be a really slow news day when you pass over Obama rants for this article.

RE: What is newsworthy in this???
By martyrant on 9/6/2012 1:05:00 PM , Rating: 2
It's because Jason Mick sees the world through his computer (youtube, websites, etc.) instead of actually stepping out the door and experiencing the REAL WORLD (not the MTV version) that this is news!

By Solandri on 9/6/2012 3:46:41 PM , Rating: 2
Haven't you been keeping up with gaming news? It's newsworthy because it's the earliest stage of Sylvari evolution.

RE: What is newsworthy in this???
By alcalde on 9/12/2012 2:45:51 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks; I'm 40 and these were on sale at the local supermarket when I was a kid. Next someone will post a video of a record player or a black and white tv on YouTube and it'll "go viral" and become a "new sensation". Sheesh.

Puerto Rico...
By MrPerez on 9/6/2012 12:50:27 PM , Rating: 2
Has these all over, my family owned farm has so many of these and we call them "Mori-vivir" thats spanish for "Die-Live". The species in PR have thorns not sure if these do also.

RE: Puerto Rico...
By vcolon on 9/8/2012 12:48:51 AM , Rating: 2
I can vouch, from Arecibo, PR

In the Philippines
By ShaolinSoccer on 9/6/2012 1:55:58 PM , Rating: 4
These are all over the place in the Philippines and have been since forever...

Not new
By Ammohunt on 9/6/2012 4:21:45 PM , Rating: 2
Whats old is new again! i remember these from the 80ies if i recall you could buy them at kmart.

RE: Not new
By Denigrate on 9/10/2012 11:16:19 AM , Rating: 2
I remember "playing" with these as a kid in Kansas, where a similar plant grew wild.

the "other kingdom"
By inperfectdarkness on 9/6/2012 1:22:01 PM , Rating: 2
last time i checked, there were at least 5 kingdoms. there haven't been "only" 2 kingdoms since aristotle.

/geek rant.

By Greenisgood on 9/6/2012 1:37:50 PM , Rating: 2
Just search Pet TickleMe Plant to grow your own indoors and to get the care book.
Here in the USA we call it the TickleMe Plant because as you see it moves fast when you Tickle It and it looks like it is being Tickled.
It is replacing the lima bean in schools as the must grow plant for kids of all ages. You can easily grow TickleMe Plants indoors year round in the TickleMe Plant Greenhouse and Party Favors.

Makahiya Plant
By CyberPinoy on 9/12/2012 3:24:16 AM , Rating: 2
This looks familiar plant, I remeber this on my childhood we call this "Makahiya plant" (or shy Plant in Pilipino). This plant are abundant in the Philippines.

"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki