Improvement status: Wild
Seeds per packet: ~100
BOTANICAL SAMPLE - NOT GERMINATION TESTED
Life cycle: Perennial
This adorable mimosid from India is a popular plant for the simple reason that it responds visibly and rapidly to external stimuli. Indeed, it's one of the few plants capable of rapid movement. A simple touch will make the compound leaves fold together along the midrib and seemingly shrink away. This is an amazing evolutionary development, and one that can't help but fascinate children and adults alike. It goes by many names related to its behavior: shameplant, shy plant, humble plant, sleeping grass, touch-me-not, and bashful mimosa. In India it is called lajjalu, and it is used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine, including for treating wounds, hemorrhoids, uterine prolapse, and diarrhea. Aqueous extracts of the root have been shown to demonstrate significant neutralizing effects against the lethality of monocled cobra venom! The plant contains 5-meo-dmt, a compound often used as a religious or recreational drug (the same chemical famously secreted by the Colorado River toad), but it is said to be difficult to extract.
The plants are very pretty too, with small pink-purple flowers and pretty leaves. When grown as an annual (they will often set seed in one season), they can reach two or three feet high. In tropical places, they might reach five feet. They are very easy to grow (our friend Eliot had them appear as a weed in his backyard in Baltimore for a few years after he grew one, but they eventually disappeared).
Our seed was imported from India by the good folks at Sheffield's Seed Company in Locke, NY.
GROWING TIPS: For best germination results, pour boiling water over seed and let stand for 24 hours. Repeat process on seed that did not visibly swell. Sow seed 1/8" deep. May be grown in pots or in ground.