This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
In our notes of a Day at Kew, we omitted to notice a singular plant, of which a few specimens only were seen in this country some years ago; it is the Desmodium gyrans, usually called the Moving Plant, and, in Bengal, the Telegraph Plant. The movement is voluntary, not influenced by touch, only requiring a calm, warm atmosphere; it is therefore kept under a glass case. - The leaves consist of three leaflets, one large, terminal one, and two small, lateral ones. The latter alone are endowed with this wonderful property. There are some or other of them always in motion, by jerks, and in circles, or gyrations, in one direction, so as to return to the same point. Well might Collinson and Bartram have given this their signifioative name - the Tipitiwichet Sensitive.
The Mimosa pudica differs from the Mimosa sensitive or sensitive plant, and is more remarkable. The best way to exhibit its strongly sensitive properties of the leaves, is to cut off, suddenly and cautiously, the tip of one of the terminal leaflets, when all the other leaflets on that stalk will close, a pair at a time, from above downwards; thence the impulse is con* tinned to the adjoining stalks and to the leaflets, from below upwards; and then the whole leaf will fall.