Plants aren’t usually thought of as very fast moving – they stay in one place, almost completely still, occasionally drooping over if you forget to water them. In some cases, however, plants can be amazingly quick; grabbing hold of insects, shooting out their seeds or spinning their leaves round to get a suntan.
Next in our series on the world’s fastest plants is…
Sensitive plant | Native to South and Central America
The sensitive plant is a type of herb originally from South America. Whereas some of the plants in our series move to find food or to distribute their seeds, the sensitive plant moves because it’s shy and doesn’t like being touched.
Each of the plant’s leaves is made up of numerous pairs of mini-leaves, and it’s these mini-leaves that quickly fold up whenever they’re touched, blown, shaken, or possibly even just looked at.
There are various theories about why the sensitive plant does this; it may be the plant’s attempt to shrink and protect itself from predators, or perhaps the fast movement is designed to scare off hungry animals – although it’s hard to imagine a hungry animal being dissuaded by such a nervous display.