China's Flora Tour: Touch me not please

Touch me not, just as the name suggests, is a kind of plant too "sentimental" to tolerant any sudden contact. The leaves will fold or drop inward immediately when anything touches them, be it raindrops or animals' curious sniffing.

The plant is orignated in the America and now has become a common thing in tropical areas such as southwest China's Yunnan Province.

The sensitivity actually serves the way to protect themselves from potential danger, for instance, the folded leaves may reduce the impact and pressure on the whole plant from the continuous raindrop during storm.

In fact, their movement upon a touch is not the result of neural stimulation or any form of sensation as how human or animals react to external force. What plays the key role behind all the drama is a certain kind of protein, it destroys the cell walls which subsequently causes the water leak from the cell and flow downward. That is to say, the seemingly shy avoidance is just the manifestation of shrinking leaves.

The plant’s flower is with great ornamental value. However, enchanting flower and sensitive character does not mean that they are safe to eat despite of its medical value. When taken alone, it will cause hair loss and discomfort.

China's Flora Tour

From the wetlands along the coast to the dense rainforests hidden in the southwest, China boasts an array of plant species. In this series, we will go on a tour to learn about some of the most representative flora in different provinces and see how they live in harmony with the local geography and climate.

(All photos via VCG. )

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