Mimosa diplotricha C. Wright ex Sauvalle

Etymology Genus Mimic; referring to the fact that the leaf respond to stimuli
Species Having two kinds of hairs; perhaps referring to the prickles and fine hairs on the stem
Family Fabaceae
Synonyms Mimosa diplotricha C. Wright, Mimosa invisa Mart.
Common Names Creeping Sensitive Plant, Giant Sensitive Plant, Nila Grass
Status Exotic: Naturalised
Form Herbaceous or woody creeper or climber
Native Distribution Tropical America


A common species in scrublands, Mimosa diplotricha is easily recognised by its sensitive bipinnate leaves, pink flower clusters, and many fine recurved prickles running along the stems and leaf stalks. It look somewhat similar to Mimosa pudica but the flower clusters are smaller, and has more pairs of pinnae leaf pairs (7 to 10) than M. pudica (1 to 2).

Interesting Facts:

There are two varieties of this species, and the one which is found in Singapore is Mimosa diplotricha var. diplotricha. The difference between the two is that the variety diplotricha has prickles (eFloras, 2008).

Because of its vigorous growth and climbing habit, it can smother over other plants and also prevent them from establishing. All plant parts also contains a toxin, mimosin, which when ingested by cattle, causes damage to the inner wall of blood vessels and necroses of the heart and liver (Sankaran, 2008). Luckily in Singapore, the Creeping Sensitive Plant does not appear to occur at high densities.

Like Mimosa pigra, the ripe fruit pod splits transversely into sections, each containing a seed. These sections are buoyant and are dispersed by water. They can also adhere to animal fur, machinery, and as a soil contaminant (Sankaran, 2008).

A dense growth of the Creeping Sensitive Plant.

Bipinnate leaves normally have 7 to 10 pairs of pinnae.

Many small, recurved prickles line the stem and leaf stalks.

Small pink flower clusters.

Young unripe fruit pods.


eFloras. (2008) Mimosa diplotricha C. Wright ex Sauvalle. Flora of China. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge. http://www.efloras.org. Accessed on 6-Jan-2012.
Sankaran KV. (2008) Invasive Pest Fact Sheet: Mimosa diplotricha. Giant sensitive plant. Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 3 pp.

Posted Date: 2013-01-06 / Modified Date: 2015-01-11