B is for Biophytum

I am writing about herbs in the 2016 April AtoZ blogging challenge and its only the second day. Here is what B has in store…

Walking up to the hill near our home is a part of my regular exercise, and observing the plant life there has been an addition over the past couple of years. 2015 saw less than normal rainfall which meant I could enjoy the hill during the monsoon months as well. The weather did allow for plenty of herbs to grow and I was happy to spot several as they bloomed. A few tiny plants (only about 8″tall) with brilliant yellow blooms caught my eye and when I tried to examine the leaves, they ‘closed’ as do the leaves of Touch Me Not (Mimosa pudica)! Whoa… these leaves were sensitive to touch, a wonderful surprise indeed!

This made it easier to identify the plant. My research shows that the herb is of the Biophytum genus and is either Biophytum sensitivum or Biophytum reinwardtii of the Oxilidaceae family. The difference seems to be in the leaf arrangement and leaflets and flowering season. I am happy to have narrowed down my search to the genus level. I would need help to zero down further… 

I have used an app called Flowers of Sahyadri to shortlist species for identification solely using flower colour and season as the filters.

It is said that the flowers of B sensitivum are an important part of the Pookalam which is a rangoli made with flowers in the state of Kerala in India (where this plant is called Mukkutti).B reinwardtii also grows up to an altitude of 1000m. Both these species are native to India. 

What plants have you noticed in your neighbourhood? 
Tomorrow is a Sunday, our first ‘holiday’ in this AtoZ… 
Hope to catch up on many interesting blogs out there.
Take care!

28 Replies to “B is for Biophytum”

  1. Oh! Not only is this a very interesting plant, but it gives me some ideas for a novel series that involves sensate plants (a complicated concept I haven't fully realized yet).

    And your name tickles me – my "A" post was "Arachnid Nebula"!

    It's still Friday here in upstate New York, USA, but I'm delighted to read your "B" post, and I'll be lingering to read your "A" post as well – I love asparagus, and will be finishing what we have on hand later this evening.

    Pleasure to meet you during my A-Z rounds! =D

    Boldly Going Through the Alphabet!
    @shanjeniah from
    shanjeniah's Lovely Chaos

  2. Hi Archana, 'Touch me nots' have a special place in my childhood memories… 🙂 I was so amused by a plant that visibly responded to humans. 🙂

    Great post!
    eena from
    Thinking Aloud

  3. Thanks for Shan, I am eagerly waiting for your novel now!! One never knows when inspiration strikes right 🙂 So glad that you could stop by my blog. Shall be visiting your blog soon.

  4. Thank you Seena. Some people advice 'talking'to plants too.. I have seeen folks playing music to their plants.. So i guess they do respond to us humans 🙂

  5. My mom used to call me Touch-me-not! 😛

    Anyway, this is a new info for me! Thanks very much for sharing. I never knew we use its flower in Pookalam! That is "thumba" flower right! *thinking*

    Visit to read Army Wife Tales at Tale of Two Tomatoes
    You can also drop in to check 26 Chicken Recipes at Something's Cooking

  6. Shalini, thanks for stopping by.. I have learnt many new things via my AtoZ herbs too! 🙂

  7. Hi Archana, this was really interesting. I remember playing all day long with the fascinating Touch-me nots in my native village as a child. Your info was really well-researched and I am intrigued by the App you mentioned. Thanks for sharing 🙂
    @KalaRavi16 from

  8. The app is very useful especially to shortlist some ids. One can then research further at leisure.. Thanks Kala!

  9. Hey I know this. I came across this when I was in Mangalore. I never knew its English name but it is called Totta Chinigi in Tamil, it curls when we touch it. 😀

    B – The Eye of the Beholder

  10. Hello, loved The thought spices .

    And good to learn rangoki facts :))
    Looking ahead more .
    @dixita011 from
    Cafenined words

  11. I love this! I look forward to learning about the herbs you feature this month! My 7 year old will love these posts too as she is very interested in plants. Glad I found my way over here, I'm visiting from the A-Z Challenge sign up sheet. Some of the blogs I'm supposed to visit haven't posted so I decided to continue down the list 🙂

    [@NikisSimpleLife] #486 (as of today) from
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  12. @Niki L – Please do nurture your 7yo's love for plants. It will stay all through her life and will be a good stress buster. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  13. O I have such sweet memories of Touch me not from my childhood. How my dad brought that plant and how magical it felt then..
    Thanks to you 🙂


  14. What a great idea! I look forward to readying and learning this month!
    [@ajcray] from
    Tilting at Windmills

  15. I remember playing with these plants in my school garden. Now I know their scientific name and family!
    Have a great weekend 🙂

  16. Thank You for Sharing its Name as I know it as Touch me Not plant but never knew what's it actually Called.This Plants really attract me like no other plants.May be because of their Unique Characteristic of Closing back of their leaves on being Touched.

  17. Mithila, keep visiting all through April as I have tried to include botanical name with links to more info about the chosen herbs. Thank you 🙂

  18. Yes Anoosha, the Touch Me Not is quite unique. Thank you for your sharing your thoughts 🙂

  19. 'Touch me not' I was intrigued by the plant as a child until I learned botany! Looking forward for more …

    @w0rds4u from As Time Flies

  20. Thanks do stopping by my Indian Idol post. Your theme is interesting. I love plants too but a brush with Malaria and another one with Dengue had me throw out all my plants. So now except for the lone Tulsi, my verandah is bare

  21. Thank you bellybytes. Yes, I too have stopped keeping money plants and cut flowers in water to hopefully keep mosquitoes away.

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