Sensitive plant. Time-lapse image of a sensitive plant, Mimosa pudica, reacting to touch. The leaves change from a normal, open and rigid structure (at upper right) to a folded stressed appearance (at lower right) in a matter of seconds. This is a natural reaction against a number of stresses (such as touch, infection or drought). Rapid movement is brought about by physiological changes in the plant's cells. Electrical impulses emerge from damaged cells. These cause water-containing vacuoles (that usually maintain the plant's rigidity) to release water and cause the leaves to curl. If left untouched, the leaves slowly return to normal.
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