While we are reading about various defense mechanisms that plants adopt when fighting herbivores, we must explore one of the interesting traits used by some plants is to mimic dead plants or decrease in size. Some plants have attained the ability to decrease the appearance, i.e. stay hidden from the eyes of herbivores. Instead of growing on a plain surface, the plants grow on cliffs and plateaus. This way, they grow below or above the browsing line of the predator.
Also, there is another type of refuge in which they reduce the area of exposure by reacting to a stimulus. They either camouflage or behave like a dead plant, such as Mimosa Pudica. When exposed to a stimulus, Mimosa Pudica simply closes itself to the smallest form and mimics a dead pine which is unsavory for the herbivore and comes back to shape later. Just like a number of other plant species, Mimosa also undergoes changes in leaf orientation termed “sleep” or nyctinastic movement. The foliage of the plant closes during darkness and reopens in light. This helps both in conserving its energy as well as protecting its nightly visitors.
Have you played with Mimosa as a child? We still love to trigger it when we see them on the grounds. Did you know that Mimosa is being studied to understand plant memory and habituation? Other than being called touch-me-not, Mimosa is also called Humble plant or Shame plant.
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