Small evergreen shrub, usually hanging or erect, native to South America. It has thin reddish brown stems, poorly branched, which bear long pinnate leaves, consisting of small oval-elliptic leaves, flattened; the peculiarity of the mimosa pudica is that during the night, or in case of contact, the foliage folds back on itself, from this characteristic derives the Latin name and the common names in the various languages of the world. The leaves are delicate in appearance, reminiscent of ferns, light green in color, slightly pruinose; on the stems there are some thorns and small thin hairs. All parts of the plant are toxic if ingested.
In late spring it produces small roundish flowers, similar to small pompons, of a lilac pink color; the flowers are followed by small rounded pods, gathered in clusters, light brown in color.
These plants are widespread in much of the globe, in areas with tropical climate they can become weeds.
Description of the modest mimosa
There modest mimosa It is a semi-woody plant belonging to the Fabaceae family. It originates from Central and South America, but has been introduced in many other regions where it is also considered an invasive species, for example in Tanzania, Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands. It is actively fought in almost all of Australia.
It is generally a perennial plant, not frost-resistant, erect, very branched and with thorny branches. In the northern hemisphere, it is grown as an annual in a pot, where it hardly exceeds 50 cm in height. In nature, however, it can reach up to one and a half meters.
The stems are erect in young plants but then become climbers with age. However, it can also grow on the ground becoming creeping. The leaves are composite, bipinnate, with 10 to 26 leaflets per side. The flowers are axillary and born in mid-summer. The inflorescences are formed from 1 to 4 globes of color from pink to purple from 1 to 1.5 cm in diameter, carried on a peduncle 12 to 25 mm long. Each one is composed of numerous flowers consisting of a tiny calyx and bell-shaped corollas and 4 pink stamens and white anthers.
The fruit is a small flat pod consisting of 3 or 4 segments from 1 to 1.5 cm long and with the margin featuring long sparse hairs. Each section contains only one smooth oval or round brown seed…
Pollination takes place thanks to the help of the wind or insects. The peel of the seeds is very hard and it is therefore necessary to scratch it slightly to favor gemination.