The putri malu plant is scientifically known in Latin as Mimosa pudica. Internationally, in English, this plant is known as action plant, shame plant, humble plant, sensible plant, sleepy plant or touch-me-not plant.
In Indonesia, the Mimosa pudica plant or what is commonly known as the shy princess has several other names. Among them are boedjang kajit, daven kagat - shocked, koetjingan (cat cat), pis cat, si shock, randelik and risirepan.
In Malaysia, this plant is known as keman, elephant flower, kemunchup, melamu or semalu. In Japan this plant is known as ojigiso. Meanwhile, in India this plant is known as lajja, lajjavathi, lajkuli, lajwanti, mutlamurike or thota surungi.
The genus name, Mimosa comes from the Greek word mimikos, meaning 'imitation' or 'false', via the Latin word mimus and the suffix -osa, meaning 'abundant', which refers to many flowers that appear to be one flower. Meanwhile, the species name pudica comes from a Latin word meaning 'modest' or 'shy' (Parker, 2022).
This plant originates from the Caribbean region as well as South and Central America. Initially this plant was introduced as an ornamental plant, then spread and became a pantropical weed in Asia including India and Indonesia, Micronesia, Australia and several regions of Africa.
Touch-Me-Not Plant as Weed
Mimosa pudica or touch-me-not plant is a serious pest of crops and pastures throughout the tropics and is most frequently and widely reported as a weed in pastures.
In several countries in Africa this plant is declared an invasive weed. Including Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda.
Not only in Africa, M. pudica is also declared a 'serious' or 'major' weed in Indonesian Kalimantan, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Cuba, Fiji, India, Peru, Thailand and Trinidad. It has also been declared one of the 76 worst weeds in the world (Parker, 2022).
Growth and Shape Description
Mimosa pudica or touch-me-not plant is a perennial shrub that can grow up to 15 to 100 cm. This plant generally grows spread and elongated with many branches and thorns.
The stem is cylindrical in shape and tends to be woody at the base with a reddish brown or purple color armed with thorns scattered along the segments. The dense spines are 3 to 4 mm long, dense with a slightly curved shape, and very sharp.
The touch-me-not plant has soft green leaves that are double pinnate and hairy and very sensitive. The leaves droop at night or when touched and cooled. As the name suggests, this plant has a very unique characteristic, namely the movement of its leaves which bend when touched.
The flowers are bright purplish pink with four prominent stamens and are oval in shape with a diameter of about 9 mm. Meanwhile, the petals are small with a four-lobed crown with a blade of about 2 mm.
The fruits grow in groups from the leaf axils with oval, flat and curved pods. Each fruit is about 8 to 20 mm long and 2 to 6 mm wide and contains 1 - 5 fruit seeds.
Uses and Efficacy
The touch-me-not plant or Mimosa pudica appears frequently in Ayurveda texts, a record of the traditional Indian medicine system, and has been used for centuries as an herbal plant, especially for the treatment of urogenital disorders, hemorrhoids, dysentery, and sinuses and can also be used to treat external wounds by applying it. on the surface of the injured skin. This plant is known to have anti-bacterial, anti-venom, anti-fertility, anti-convulsant, anti-depressant, aphrodisiac, and various other pharmacological activities (Ahmad et al., 2012).
A research was also carried out in the Padang area, West Sumatra with the research title Testing the Potential of Putri Malu (Mimosa pudica Linn) Leaf Extract that Grows in Padang as a Vegetable Larvicide on the Mortality of Aedes aegypti Mosquito Larvae, carried out by Vannisa Al Khalish et al. (2020). Through this research, it was concluded that the extract from the leaves of putrimalu which grows in Padang has the potential to act as a larvicide for Aedes aegypti.