Lifescapes Gallery

9 / Feb / 2011
The Shy Maiden of Kabini
Touch Me Not (Mimosa Pudica), Kabini Photograph: Ganesh H. Shankar Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

The Shy Maiden of Kabini

We all know about the Mimosa. Every one of us has grown up knowing at least one at high school, often of the opposite sex, who’d shrink from all contact and withdraw deep within themselves when approached. While in the case of this writer, the reaction to him was commonplace till he discovered the existence of deodorants, shrinking from company was standard operating procedure for others who used it as a form of self-defense against social predation. These bashful specimens were after all following in the footsteps of the original Touch-me-not: the Mimosa pudica. Pretty, yet painfully shy, these natives of Central and South America are found all over Kabini and flower every year in September and October. While occurring naturally, they are also grown in gardens, primarily for the novelty value of seeing a plant so sensitive that the leaves close inwards on stimuli such as touching, warming, blowing or even a gentle shaking. Also hyper sensitive to light, like some other plant species (and the human species we discussed earlier), the Mimosa undergoes a change in leaf orientation and goes to ‘sleep’ every night, and opens up with the first rays of the morning. While it’s lovely and lovably eccentric, the Mimosa is not a farmer’s best friend, and is considered a mildly toxic weed that can affect crops like tomato, corn, coffee, bananas and sugarcane. The encouraging news is that modern medicine is beginning to discover huge potential in its chemotherapeutic compounds, while aqueous extracts of the plant have been proven to neutralize the venom of the Monocled Cobra. While all this is very fine, this writer is left to wonder when they’ll invent an antidote to dispel the painful shyness of the human Mimosas that inhabit the pimpled pathways of our adolescence!

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 at 9:49 am and is filed under Flora . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. Loria Perkoski says:

    I was suggested this website by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. You’re wonderful! Thanks!

  2. Sneha B says:

    its beautiful !

  3. Mala Bajaj says:

    Could you please furnish me with the name of the writer of Lifescapes by Orange County and oblige.

    Best regards,
    Mala Bajaj
    Senior features Editor

  4. George Tharakan says:

    Lovely picture!!! Keep it up.

  5. Sarma vvs says:

    Very smart image indeed. The content is very informative. I have seen the plants in the spice gardens of Periyar wildlife Reserve near Kumily village in Kerala. A wonderful creation of the Almighty. All the best

  6. Diwakaran Nair says:

    Outstanding storytelling allied to fabulous lensmanship. This is one of the best, yet. Keep it up folks!

  7. Ayesha Goswamy says:

    Dear Orange county,
    I love these photographs.They help in stress relief. Please keep sending me.

  8. Vikram Nanjappa says:

    Mimosa pudica is native to South America, but has become a pan-tropical weed. It was introduced to many countries as an ornamental plant and is still widely available for sale. Mimosa pudica has become a pest in forest plantations, cropland, orchards and pasture. One is not sure how it reached India but the fact that it is known to Ayurveda leads us to beleive that it reached us a very long time ago.

  9. Ajit K Huilgol says:

    Ah! Another gem from the master!

  10. joyce Pickles says:

    Since staying at the Orange County Kabini in March 2010 I have been receiving some amazing photos of the flora and fauna of your country. The standard of photography is high, the text informative and, as in the case of this latest addition often amusing. Thanks to everyone involved – well done.

  11. lakshmi vasudevan says:

    around 10 yrs ago when I was studying B.Sc, my best friend had gifted me a cosmetic product range of perfume, shower gel etc…and guess what…mimosa pudica was it’s main ingredient! and I could not believe that ‘touch me not’ has such utility as well!

  12. Grahalakshmi Dhandapani says:

    Thank you. Pl. continue to send photographs.

  13. kaikoy bokdawala says:

    Very interesting.
    Keep posting me such articles.

  14. Vinod K. Madra, President, Haldiram Hotels Pvt Ltd, Nagpur says:

    Dear Orange County Chief,
    I have been reading about the exotic fauna & flora of your region in your Mail “Lifescapes”. Let me Congratulate you on the Informative & humorous way it is presented.GREAT. Keep it up ! !

    • Jose Ramapuram, Director - Orange County Resorts says:

      Dear Sir,

      Thank you very much for your comment. It is in fact comments like yours that keeps us motivated in maintaining the high quality standards of Lifescapes.

  15. Kannan .K.V. says:

    Lovely picture, long live the Mimosa!!!Am curious to know how a native of central and south America is so far from home.

  16. Anupam says:

    well written – the article scores on several fronts, it is witty, informative & richer for its brevity –

  17. Jitendra Katiyar says:

    Great writing!!!

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