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Useful Tropical Plants

Mimosa diplotricha

C.Wright ex Sauvalle

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Mimosa invisa Mart.

Common Name: Giant Sensitive Plant

Mimosa diplotricha
Close-up of the flowers
Photograph by: Anita Gould
Creative Commons License
Mimosa diplotricha Mimosa diplotricha Mimosa diplotricha Mimosa diplotricha

General Information

Giant sensitive plant is a straggling or scrambling, short-lived perennial woody shrub or semi-woody herb, with branches to over 5 metres long, rooting at the base and with a strong, elaborate rooting system[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
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Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
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Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The plant is cultivated as ground cover, for erosion control and green manure in many areas of the tropics.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

S. America - Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, north to the Caribbean and through C America to Mexico

Habitat

Sunny to lightly shaded locations, along drains, water courses and roadsides, in ravines, in annual and perennial crops and secondary forest from sea level to 2,000 metres[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Restricted to depressions and other damp sites in drier areas[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitShrub
Height4.00 m
PollinatorsBees
Cultivation StatusCultivated

Cultivation Details

A plant of the moister tropics, where it can be found at elevations up to 2,000 metres[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Although it prefers light, permeable soils, it can also be grown on heavy clay soils[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. The plant may die during prolonged dry spells[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The spiny form of this species has been declared a noxious weed in many areas of the tropics[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. Seedpods of the spiny forms have spiny surfaces and are easily distributed by animals and farm machinery[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. The plant has a robust habit of growth, scrambling over other plants forming spreading, tangled masses or thickets of undergrowth up to 2 metres tall, eventually forming pure stands[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The plant can flower and fruit all year round[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The species has been subdivided into three varieties:-
Var. Inermis (Adelb.) Veldkamp. This is a spineless form that originated in Java. It is still cultivated. It is an excellent soil improver, cover crop and soil binder against erosion in humid areas, but is somewhat less effective in smothering weeds than the spiny form[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].
Var. Diplotricha. A spiny form, it is distributed all over tropical America and has spread pantropically as a weed. This form used to be cultivated as a green manure, fallow crop and cover crop. However, it is now considered a noxious weed because it aggressively colonizes open spaces, produces large amounts of easily distributed seed and may pose a fire hazard. Because of its spines, it is especially notorious in hand-harvested sugar cane[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].
Var. Odibilis Barneby. A spiny form that is only known from Mexico[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
755
Title
Nodulation Plants in GRIN Taxonomy
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ars-grin.gov/~sbmljw/cgi-bin/taxnodul.pl?language=en
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database listing plants that have either positive or negative reports on root and stem nodulation with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

The spine-free form of the plant is widely cultivated in the tropic, where it makes an excellent ground cover; is planted for erosion control, especially in humid areas; and is an excellent green manure, where its ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen helps to enrich the soil[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. It is somewhat less effective in smothering weeds than the spiny form[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
It is planted as a shade plant in rubber plantations in Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].
As a cover crop in tree plantations, the spineless forms will last for 1.5 - 2 years (under favourable conditions 4 years) and then gradually die[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. It is cheaper to establish, covers the soil more quickly and can be better established on poorer soils than most other leguminous cover crops[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]
Until 1940, the plant was used as a fallow crop in wrapper tobacco cultivation in Deli, Sumatra, because it significantly reduced the incidence of Granville wilt or slime disease caused by Pseudomonas solanacearum. As it was difficult to eradicate the fallow crop later and it slightly reduced the quality of the tobacco leaves, this use has been discontinued[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The plant is an aggressive colonizer on light and heavy, moist, often poor soils, in sunny to lightly shaded locations[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Mimosa diplotricha is a host of crickets and grasshoppers that feed on coconut palm and oil palm[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - germinates best if pre-treated by immersing the seed in hot water at 98°c for 90 seconds, or in 98% sulphuric acid for 20 - 30 minutes[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Dry heat has also given a high germination rate[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. The seed is sown in situ[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Untreated seed may germinate immediately or remain dormant in the soil for a long period[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Seed collected about 50 days after flowering gives the highest direct germination rate[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

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