In the Northern Territory it is declared a noxious weed requiring its growth and spread to be controlled Miller, In Hong Kong, it is still used as an ornamental Chan et al. As a botanical curiosity and attractive plant to grow, M. The dispersal mechanism of the species, i.
Although it is often grown as an annual ornamental, M. Typically, M. It tolerates full sun and partial shade Kostermans et al. It is most competitive in poorer, but moist, soils, and full sunlight. In Belize, M. It is a main component of the weed community of farmland, but is not associated with crop fields Kellman, In other parts of Central America it may be found in grassland with a scattered shrub layer, or in salt meadows and savanna vegetation near Nicaragua's Pacific coast Taylor, It is also readily found in disturbed areas, such as along railways, for instance in the Mexican Chiapas region Matuda, Attempts to select spineless types for use in pastures have failed because homozygosity has not been achieved and the plants revert to the spiny form.
The existence of four accepted varieties indicates significant genetic variation. The inflorescence of M. Food is present in the form of pollen and solitary bees have been observed to forage for pollen Percival, According to Raw in Jamaica, the pollen of M. Although, they are accessible to all pollinators they only appear to be visited by Apidae Leppik, In a lowland mixed-dipterocarp forest in Sabah, Malaysia, the pollen composition of stingless bee Trigona collina pellets contained 3.
In French Guiana, M. In Thailand, M. Other publications suggest a wide range of bees can be involved in pollination of. Reproduction is by seeds only and each plant may produce upwards of seeds. The bristled seed segments can be readily carried on animal fur or on clothing. Some seeds germinate rapidly in moist soil, but others may remain dormant and viable in the soil for many years. Dormancy is associated with an impermeable seed coat and is overcome by scarification. Burial to 2 cm depth did not reduce germination but there was some reduction at deeper levels and none at 8 cm.
The plant grows rapidly and stems branch profusely. Flowering commences about three months after germination, and can occur throughout the year in tropical countries. Investigations in the lowland forests of Costa Rica, a region with a dry season spanning from mid-November to mid-May, showed that leaf flushing occurred between May and November. Flowering lasted from March to November and mature fruits were observed between October and December, and between February and April Opler et al. In the Philippines the plants flower all year round Holm et al.
Perhaps its most striking characteristic is the rapid collapse of its leaves in response to stimulation. Stimulating agents that can induce rapid leaf movements include shock and shaking, localised applied pressure, sudden temperature changes, increase in hydrostatic pressure, increase in light intensity, X-rays, electrical stimulation, chemical agents and physical injuries Roblin, Fairchild reported that as a train advanced along a railway line embankment, he observed the quick falling of the leaves like the progress of a roller on the sea coast.
The leaflets close and the petiole falls within a couple of seconds of stimulation, while the recovery takes an hour or more Charnley et al. The primary mode of conductance of the excitation is thought to be electrical Tinz-Fuchtmeier and Gradmann, The plant is able to adapt to constant stimulation, such as during rainfall, by reopening its leaves Applewhite, Kanzawa et al propose that the phosphorylation status of actin at tyrosine residues affects the dynamic reorganization of actin filaments and causes the seismonastic movement.
Friday Morning, March 31, Smith, L. Sea Street. Mohandiram Basnaile Nitleme, Don H. Wade, M. Godfrey, G.
Volkov et al. Motor organs or 'pulvini' form true articulations between different parts of the plant.
The primary pulvinus is the joint between the stem and the whole leaf, the secondary pulvini allow the pinnae to move at the tip of the petiole, and the tertiary pulvini form the junctions of the pinnules with the rachises Roblin, In a detailed anatomic study Chen et al. The main sensitivity position lies at the base of the common petiole, where the lower cortex is more sensitive than the upper cortex, and the ordinal sensitivity positions are rachis and leaflets.
Song et al.
The circadian leaf movement, controlled by a biological clock, is initiated by the regulated balance of leaf opening and closing substances, and has been reported in detail by Ueda and Yamamura The photosynthetic rate of M. Hence recovery rates tend to be quicker under low light, to minimise the reduction of photosynthesis, compared with high light conditions when that reduction is less serious Jensen et al.
Mano et al. A further curiosity of M. It is assumed that this response has a deterrent function against predators.
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In French Guiana, Mishra et al. In Taiwan, B. In South Africa, however, M. Ferreira et al. In the Comoros, it reaches an altitude of m or more Ibrahim, It is favoured by annual rainfall from mm to an estimated mm. The plant is usually associated with wetter grounds and can grow on a wide variety of soils, including those of low fertility. It is typically light demanding but appears to be able to tolerate a certain degree of shading.
In Fiji, M. Preliminary surveys in Brazil and Trinidad have found a number of mainly polyphagous insects attacking the plant Waterhouse and Norris, Waterhouse lists the natural enemies of M. In Panama, M. It is a larval food plant of the butterflies Eurema nise and E. Initial tests in Cuba with larvae of the butterfly Hemiargus hanno filenus indicate that it feeds readily on M.
Also in Cuba, M. A leaf spot fungus, Cercospora pudica e, which is associated with leaf scorching and blackening was described from Puerto Rico, and has since been shown to be widespread and is common in India Evans, A begomovirus closely realated to Ageratum yellow-vein virus has been observed causing small yellow leaves in Rajhastan, India Gaur et al.
The phytoplasma Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris has also been identified on M. Seed of M. Vector Transmission Propagules readily stick to mammals' fur and human clothing and thus may be dispersed over large distances. Original introductions of M. It causes problems in Panama Pinzon et al.
It also causes serious problems in lawns on Guam McConnell and Muniappan, Holm et al. It was regarded by Holm et al. The plant can survive mowing and when dead can be a fire hazard Waterhouse and Norris, Hand weeding is a hazardous practice because prickles can break off in the skin and cause serious septic sores Holm et al.
In direct-sown upland rice in Kerala, India, infestations of M. It can be a co-dominant weed in translated rice Dahiphale et al.
Due to its ability to grow in partial shade, it is also a serious weed in forest and plantation crops such as: rubber in Mexico, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Malaysia Holm et al. In India, M. In the Comoros the species hinders crop productivity and increases labour due to the need to weed the plant from crops. However, it is used by agriculturalists, like some other introduced weeds, as straw Vos, When dry, thickets of M. In meadows it is reported "to kill out all other plants" Fairchild, The impact of this plant on biodiversity appears to be as yet rather limited.
In the Comoros, however, the species is viewed as being a real threat to the native flora Ibrahim, A study by Wang et al. Due to its sensitive leaves, M. It is cultivated as an ornamental plant in South Africa Wells et al. However, when it spreads in tropical regions it is generally viewed as having a negative impact.