World's Strangest Flowers

Sierra magazine selected "7 of the World's Strangest Flowers." Above is video of the Touch-Me-Not, native to Central and South America but now growing many other places:

You might easily overlook this herb, with its dainty pink flowers and delicate, fern-like leaves. The mimosa pudica doesn’t just look demure, though. Barely touching its leaves causes them to fold inward and droop downward—hence the flower’s species name, pudica, Latin for “shy, bashful, or shrinking,” as well as its nicknames, “touch-me-not” and “shy plant.” The leaves usually reopen in a few minutes. Other stimuli, including warming and shaking the plant, produce the same phenomenon. The leaves fold and wilt in the evening, too, but they stay that way until sunrise…
"7 of the World's Strangest Flowers" (Thanks, Orli Cotel!)


  1. I realize “strange” is purely subjective, but I’m more than a little irked that mimosa pudica gets on the list but none of the family of carnivorous plants is included. Surely dionaea muscipula is stranger than the mimosa, as are all the members of the genii drosera and utricularia. And that’s not even beginning to get into the “pitcher plants”. Look up cephalotus follicularis and tell me that thing doesn’t belong in any list of strange plants.

  2. In the southeast of the US where I am we have lost of related mimosa species. From shrubs to bushes and trees they are not as touch sensitive. but they do close their leaves up and “go to sleep” and night. Very interesting feeling being out in the evenings near them. 

    We have a different plant called “touch me not”. In the late summer it produces flowers and then seed pods. The flesh of the seed pods is hydraulically over pressured so if you touch them when they are ripe they explode and disperse their seeds that way

    1. I loved finding touch-me-nots in a vacant lot near my house when I was a kid. Also a friend of mine had a huge mimosa tree in his front yard. What always fascinated me most about them was the flowers. They were so soft and so strange looking, and produced in such abundance.

    2. California Poppies also do the exploding seedpod thing. Though it is more of a spring loaded trap.

  3. I think the “mimosa tree” is actually a “Persian silk tree” , which is pretty but a terrible invasive species here.  Strange is definitely subjective. I grew up playing with true mimosas as a kid, and they are no more unusual to me than bluebonnets, henbit, or crabgrass. As above noted Impatiens here are some times called touch-me-not because of the way they drop their seeds. I’ve always heard mimosa called “true mimosa” and the silk tree called “mimosa tree” even though it shouldn’t be. It’s really discouraged in most cities to plant silk trees though at all, despite the pretty flowers.

    There’s also a legume here that looks a bit like true mimosa when there are no flowers, but it won’t fold up. Always disappointing that was.

    To me I find Mala Mujer a lot more “strange” just because it hurts like hell. Pretty flowers but holy crap it hurts.

  4. I’m currently not at all enjoying the flowering of my Alocasia x portora, which smells like a corpse wrapped in smelly socks.

      1. Yeah.  I’ve taken to amputating them as soon as I catch a whiff.  Naturally, it’s right outside my bedroom.

  5. One of my earliest memories is sitting on my father’s shoulders so I could reach this plant. I still recall the marvel of a plant reacting to my touch.

  6. Ah, the skunk cabbage. I know it well. It takes being pinned down and having chunks of it stuffed up your nose to truly appreciate that odor.

  7. I have grown these sensitive plants (more commonly called TickleMe Plants by educators) with my students

  8. This is my favorite way to excite kids and friends about nature and gardening. I have found most people that grow them become more sensitive to all living things. The TickleMe Plant book is a great resource for anyone who wants to know more about this amazing plant.
    We get all our supplies at  If you don’t own one you a missing a great experience :-)

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