Researchers at the University of Albany in New York have discovered a defence mechanism in the roots of Mimosa pudica, the sensitive plant whose leaflets fold when touched, and is weedy throughout Australia's north and north east.
|Mimosa pudica flowers|
The roots are also touch-sensitive, releasing sulfurous odours from tiny, hairlike sacs dotted along the roots, sufficiently powerful to stink out a room. They’re even clever enough to tell what’s prodding them, as a finger touch always triggers the fart response but glass or metal objects don’t — useful in distinguishing predators from harmless objects.
The stink bomb also may warn off competitive plants’ roots that grow too close.
Closely related Acacia species are next to be studied for smelly behaviour.
I also wonder if the Mimosa pigra plant / tree - the Giant sensitive plant - is similarly endowed?
[ from Twig - Life magazine in the Weekend Australian of Feb 27 2016]