Morivivi – Shy plant marvel of Puerto Rico
Morivivi – I died, I lived.
The shy plant, Mimosa Pudica (known to puerto ricans as morivivi) is a plant that when touched, closes it leaves. At dusk it closes it leaves as well and looks like it’s sleeping. Puerto rican children play with this plant endless hours.
Moriviví is the most commonly used name in Puerto Rico for the wild weed, sensitive to touch, scientifically named mimosa pudica. We understand that in English it is sometimes called a touch-me-not. It closes its leaves when touched, its stems possess thorns, and it blooms a puffy pinkish-purple flower.
According to Wikipedia Mimosa pudica is well known for its rapid plant movement. Like a number of other plant species, it undergoes changes in leaf orientation termed “sleep” or nyctinastic movement. The foliage closes during darkness and reopens in light. The leaves also close under various other stimuli, such as touching, warming, blowing, or shaking. These types of movements have been termed seismonastic movements. The stimulus is transmitted via action potentials to the pulvini of the plant, where contractile proteins and aquaporins induce the movement of water and electrolytes out of the cell. This movement of folding inwards is energetically costly for the plant and also interferes with the process of photosynthesis. The stimulus can also be transmitted to neighboring leaves. It is not known exactly why Mimosa pudica evolved this trait, but many scientists think that the plant uses its ability to shrink as a defense from herbivores. Animals may be afraid of a fast moving plant and would rather eat a less active one. Another possible explanation is that the sudden movement dislodges harmful insects.