Saturday, October 3, 2009

Drinks on me! Mimosas!

My rules/exceptions to growing non-edible plants are that they must be:

1) interesting/unusual flowers to attract pollinators/beneficial insects
2) landscaping plants that survive my lack of watering and care
3) low groundcovers that can act like living mulch
4) FUN plants for my amusement

The last category applying to this plant, Mimosa Pudica:

Though I like the drink (orange juice+champagne/prosecco) and find it super groovy, I enjoy mimosa plants more so (unless it's a really bad day). Mimosas are great amusement and called the sensitive plant because of this:

The first time I saw this I think I was very very young and was very very impressed by a plant that seemed to move/play dead.

It was literally probably a decade later before I encountered it again in college in a greenhouse that was left open on the Ag campus and then some 5 years later before I was very lucky to have actually acquired it from a semi-local nursery a few hours north of Memphis where they were giving them away to the children for free.

So... I'm not a child, but my "SQUEE"-ing probably convinced them that I was one at heart and they let me take 3 little mimosa plants home with me because I knew a couple other little children at heart :)

Why would they give away such a cool plant for free you might ask?

Because it freakin' self-seeds like mad! (Um, so note potential invasiveness...)

(seed pod casings... the actual seeds are planted/sprouted--->)

Some months ago I noticed my now not so tiny plant had bloomed tiny pink puffballs and formed flat bean-like seed pods, making sense as they are in the legume (nitrogen fixing bean-like) family Fabaceae. When they became brown and dry enough that the pod fell off the stem easily I opened the pods out of curiosity and decided to plant the seeds with the pessimism that it probably wouldn't work... BUT THE SEEDS SPROUTED!

Oh. My. Joy.

Mimosas are cathartic. When you are annoyed or are in need of amusement, just poke at it and it's droopy sadness (really just water loss, the plant has no feelings! That I know of at least...) makes an annoyed person feel a whole lot better!

I like to touch the leaflets little at a time, getting the closing up/plant drooping to occur slowly, or see if I am delicate enough to get only one leaf to droop at a time. My husband thinks its fun to just go "RAAH!" on it and smack the entire thing all at once, making the main stem as well as all the leaves and tiny branches go sad. (I kind of glare at him when he does that because then I have to wait a good while before the plant recovers enough to be poked again).

What do I plan to do with little mimosa seedlings? I sort of imagine a lot of little pots of the mimosas , maybe 7 of them, that I can label them singly with the days of the week Mon-Tues-Wed-Fri-Sat-Sun, and pick one each day to torment (and then recover for a week) thus not OVERLY stressing one plant out too much.

Ok, that's a little disturbing... I really won't do that, scout's honor!

Instead I'll probably just give extra away so that I can share the joy.

I found out too that mimosa plants are actually edible! Hoohah! This fills my ultimate standard of a perfect plant! Edible and Fun! Unfortunately I probably won't be using mine as food, but the fact I can SAY I can eat it is comforting.

Interesting Mimosa links:


persephone said...

Oh goody, lucky me, I got a spam. I must be SO influential.

Could have at least asked.

OK, beleeted.

A Home Made said...

When you mentioned that you found out it was edible, I did a little looking around. Apparently in addition to going by the common name "Mimosa" it also goes by "Silver Wattle".

First found out that the flowers are used for a yellow dye and the pods can be used for a green dye (just interesting to take note of .. probably never will use it though)

After investigating it seems that it's been planted in parts of Africa to help with food shortages due to surviving almost anywhere, and is common in Australia too.

I've found that the flowers are commonly added to sweet recipes but didn't find much else in the way of information. Most of the information seems to center around the seeds.

Apparently the seeds can be potentially ground and used as a flower or eaten roasted (probably similar to sunflower or pumpkin seeds) and it sounds as if the seeds have a coffee-like flavor.

I've found a couple of links to show the potential of the seeds

Wattle seeds sound like a culinary item gaining popularity in Australia right now. Those links include Wattle Tiramisu and Ice cream among other things. Wattle seed is generic to any of the varieties of the acacia with edible seeds, but if you do a google search for "wattle seed recipes" you get a fair amount of hits.

Let me know if you ever try them out.