The kids and I have long loved this ground cover flower! It’s a “sensitive plant” because it’s leaflets close up when they are touched, as a possible protection from local herbivores! When they are touched, water is released from the plant vacuoles (that store water) and the leaf loses rigidity. Mimosa stringillosa is a Florida native and serves as the host plant for the Little Yellow butterfly (Pyrisitia lisa). The leaflets love sunshine! Some people call it a Pompom Mimosa, but that’s why there are scientific names to help us make sure we are talking about the same plant or animal.
We decided this Fairly Land friend needed a legend. As told by my daughter:
“Once upon a time, a cat had a fairy garden in her backyard. In the fairy garden there were real FAIRIES!!!! The cat was teased my the fairies because they were flying around. So the cat was trying to eat the fairies. The fairies had a magical plant called Sunshine Mimosa. The fairies were warned if the cat was coming by them. How you ask? The plant would feel the vibrations in the ground and the leaflet’s would close! How cool is that?! Long story short, the fairies were always safe and sound as long as there were Sunshine Mimosa’s planted in their garden! The end.🦋”
And by the way, even though these plants are magical, you can't blow on the seeds like a dandelion for a wish. There are seed pods underneath the purple flower. You'll need the fairies for the wish!