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Mimosa pudica


Mimosa pudica L.

Family Name: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Common Name: Sensitive Plant, Touch-me-not, Shame Plant, Live-and-die, Humble Plant, Action Plant, Rumput Simalu, Mimosa, Malu-malu, 含羞草


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Tropical America
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Herb with creeping growth habit.
Foliage Bipinnate leaves are composed of about 5 oblong pinnae. Each pinnae is made up of  15 - 20 pairs of oblong pinnules (0.5 cm long). The leaves fold and bend at night and upon being touched. A gentle touch will cause only the pairs of pinnules to fold, whereas a forceful touch will cause the entire leaf to droop from the base of the petiole. Leaves that have been stimulated to fold by touching require about 30 minutes to unfold. The touch-induced leaf movements may be an adaptation to deter herbivores.
Flowers Pompom-shaped flowers (0.5 - 1 cm wide) are composed of hundred of thin strand-like petals. Small clusted or 5 - 8 flowers are borne in the leaf axils.
Cultivation Although this species is often considered a weed in Singapore, it is sometimes grown in containers for its interesting ability to fold its leaves when touched. It should be planted in fertile, well-drained soil that is kept moist. Feed plants weekly with a half-strength, balanced fertilizer. Plants grow and flower best when slight rootbound, but re-pot them when roots have emerged from the drainage holes. Plants become unsightly after about a year, and new plants should be started if desired. Propagate by seeds.
Etymology The genus "Mimosa" is Greek for mimic, and the specific epithet "pudica" is Latin for shy or shrinking. The genus and specific epithet both refer to how the leaves fold when touched.
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal: A child is bathed in a decoction of the plant or a small branch placed under his pillow whenever there is difficulty in sleeping. Such practices, seen in Malaysia and Indonesia, originated from the 'sleeping' movement of the plant when touched. The pounded leaves are applied to swellings. In the Philippines, the leaves are soaked in coconut oil and placed on wounds and ulcers. It is also used to treat asthma.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage
Landscape Uses Groundcover

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Butterfly Host Plant, Bee-Attracting
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Bee), Vertebrates (Other Mammal), Vertebrates (Human)), Abiotic (Wind, Water)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Little Water
Rootzone Tolerance Drought Tolerant, Easy to Grow
Maintenance Requirements Low
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green
Young Flush Texture(s) Smooth
Foliar Type Compound (Even-Pinnate)
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Pinnately Lobed / Pinnatifid
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous
Root Type Underground

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Pink
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flowering Period Free-Flowering

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Brown
Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Legume / Pod

Image Repository



Master ID 931
Species ID 2225
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 07 September 2021.