Hush! Now here's something rather sensitive. Can you guess what this slightly pinecone-like thing will eventually turn into?
Okay, here's a closer look ... watch out for those thorns, though. They're among the meanest things I've ever come across... lethal weapons, indeed!
I love those first peeps of colour ... hot pink flashing through all that green!
Mimosa pudica, touch-me-not, sensitive plant, humble plant ... so many aliases for one tiny little plant!
Novelty plant or noxious weed, depending on where you garden.
In my part of the world, it has to be among the most stubborn, difficult-to-clear weed. Found almost all over coastal India, I've seen these little plants blanket just about every kind of terrain.
The feathery leaves that coyly fold up when touched, give it such a delicate, absolutely harmless appearance ( and its basketful of names).
Until one sticks a hand close to it ... ouch! All those wicked thorns can make you feel like you've been stabbed by a zillion stilletoes and had acid poured into the wounds!
Pity the poor gardener, then, who has to weed these deceptive weeds out of every garden patch only to helplessly watch just as many appear within days.
It was only after I moved to Mumbai where the mimosa seems to have been concreted out of existence, that I realised that maybe the mimosa does have its finer points ( I had always been too busy cursing it out for all the cuts and scrapes it gives anyone who gets too close, to see them) .
Such as, its soft, light as a wisp, powder-puff-like blooms. Imagine whole fields dotted with these candy-floss pink buttons set in feathery green ... see what I mean?
And those delicate-as-lace, quick-to-react leaves which give it the added attraction of being a plant which actually does something.
Which is probably why my 12-year old daughter, who after her first school trip to an organic farm, came home proudly brandishing her first plant purchase.
A Mimosa pudica!