Leaflets of Mimosa pudica (common names: sensitive plant, touch-me-not) have a remarkable ability to close up in response to being touched or physically moved. How fast can the leaflets close? How does this occur? And more importantly, what benefit could this unusual response provide to the plant?
Researchers studied the rate of closing and reopening of leaflets by measuring changes in the distance between opposing leaflets after being touched. Their results are shown in the accompanying graph (d/dmax is actual leaflet distance relative to maximal leaflet distance). How long does it take for leaflets to close? How long to reopen?
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