BY KIM ATIENZA
I was both surprised and amused when I read a post on Facebook recently selling a pot of makahiya plant for a sum of 4,530 pesos!
I didn’t know if the seller was serious, or was just posting it as a joke for sheer enjoyment. But, it carried a lovely picture of a blooming makahiya in a nice pot.
Children raised in cities are probably clueless about this unique plant, considered as a weed only in the provinces. Makahiya’s uniqueness lies in its name. It is quite shy like a lady who blushes at the first hint of courtship.
Touch the leaf of a makahiya and it just as quickly closes, withdraws from view. Could this characteristic be its unique selling proposition, enough to fetch such a high amount in the social media market?
Mimosa is makahiya’s scientific name. It is also known as the shame plant for obvious reasons.
Wikipedia describes mimosa pudica as a creeping, flowering plant of the pea/legume family Fabaceae. It is often grown for its curiosity value.
The compound leaves fold inward and droop when touched or shaken, defending themselves from harm, and re-open a few minutes later.
Is it poisonous?
Mimosa is listed as a non-toxic plant for humans on the University of California’s list of safe and poisonous garden plants.