The Shy Princess

The joy about cycling through a country, is that everything goes by slowly and you see much more of what surrounds you. Especially when you cycle up steep hills things go by extremely slowly. Its a great opportunity to see and observe plants growing by the roadside.

One plant I have seen very frequently is the Mimosa pudica also known as shy princess. It is a small creeping plant with small pink flowers and feathered leaves. Moreover, it has the remarkable ability of closing its leaves when touched and during the night. This is caused by a chemical reaction in the leaves which causes a rapid release of water, a sequential loss in cell pressure and the closing movement. The rapid movement protects the plant from being eaten and reduces water loss during the night. What a great invention nature holds in store for us to discover! While cycling and seeing so many of these plants growing so close to the road under harsh conditions, I marveled at the robustness of it. Later on I discovered however, that the shy princess is not native to Asia and has been classified as an invasive plant....