1 Which Is A Difference Between Plant And Animal Cells Touch Me Not – An Amazing Plant

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Touch Me Not – An Amazing Plant

I saw my son playing with a plant that was folding its leaves just by touch. It seemed as if this plant was shying away from human touch. The little creeper made me curious to know about it. This shy sensitive plant is scientifically known as Mimosa pudica.This humble plant is known by different names like Chhui-Mui, Lajwanti, Lajjawati, Lajalu, Lajak, Makahiya, Memege etc. in different parts of the world.

One of the very strange characteristics of this plant is that its leaves close even with a gentle stimulus such as touch. It is a favorite plant for children as they love to blow, shake, touch this plant and notice the changes within the leaves. These types of movements exhibited by this plant are known as seisminastic or thigmonastic movements and are usually seen with plants belonging to Mimosoideae subfamily of the legume family, Fabaceae. In addition, the leaves bend and fold in the absence of light. These movements are called nyctonastic movements.

Morphologically, it has bipedal compound leaves and the leaves are spiny. The base of the leaf of the plant is swollen and is known as Pulvinus. The flexibility of the leaf base is due to the core vascular tissue surrounded by thin-walled parenchymal cells.

A rigid cell wall of a typical plant cell is maintained by cell vacuoles. The water and cell contents within these vacuoles exert turgor pressure on the cell walls. Upon slight disturbance of these leaflets, chemicals containing potassium ions are released from certain areas of the stem. These chemicals force water out of the cell vacuoles present in the leaf. As a result, water is dispersed from the cells, reducing the turgor pressure. Turgidity levels vary between different regions of the cell. This causes the petioles to close and the pulvinus to bend leading to petiole collapse. The stimulus is transmitted to the neighboring leaves slowly.

Why should a plant behave this way? Living things try to protect themselves from predators. For example, we have receptors in our skin that respond to touch. Plants are consumed by herbivores which are afraid of fast moving plants. A plant that does not touch me only by touch shrinks, so animals avoid this plant and consume a less active one. This plant prevents harmful insects such as grasshoppers or locusts from landing on it in two ways. The first method is to fold its small leaflets suddenly upwards. Because of this, the leaflets look like small twigs which are unpalatable to insects. If this mechanism fails to repel insects, the leaves begin to drop. This exposes the spiny leaves to insects and the plant repels them.

The fact that plants also feel pain and understand love was proved by an Indian scientist, Jagadish Chandra Bose. This plant was announced as plant of the week on October 12-22, 2001.

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