Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Sensitive Catclaw

Every month on the last Wednesday, Gail with Clay and Limestone blog shares a meme to provide a place to link our native and wildflower blooms and plants. I'm a little late but I wanted to share this unusual Kansas native, Catclaw Sensitive Plant. 
Mimosa quadrivalvis - Catclaw Sensitive Plant
This plant really isn't too impressive until it blooms these round sparkling blooms. It reminds me of a woodland plant for some reason but it is prevalent in many prairies. I found this plant in a vacant industrial lot that I have derived many natives before.  Kids would be interested as the leaves fold up when touched.
Mimosa quadrivalvis L. var. nuttallii
Height: 1-2 feet tall
Family: Fabaceae - Bean Family
Flowering Period: May-September
Stems: Sprawling, 1-6 feet long, strongly ribbed, covered with hooked pickles.
Leaves: Alternate, stalked.
Inflorescences: Heads, dense, spherical, 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter, talks 1 to 3 inches long, in leaf axis.
Flowers: Numerous, tiny, sessile, pink to lavender, calyces minute, 5-lobed, petals 5, united; stamens 8-12, filaments pink, anthers yellow.
Fruits: Pods, linear, 1 to 5 inches long, strongly ribbed, prickly; seeds namy, nearly square, smooth.
Habitat: Prairies, open woodlands, ravines, and roadsides, most abundant in dry, rocky or sandy soils.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas.
Comments: The leaflets are sensitive to touch and will fold together when disturbed. The tiny flowers are rarely seen due to the overshadowing stamens.
*Information courtesy of Mike Haddock Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses website.


  1. Kids, heck. I love to stroke the leaves of catsclaw and watch them close up myself. Your front "hell strip" is looking good Greggo. But just wait till that Tiger Eye sumac starts to spread!

    1. I've heard both sides of the Tiger Eye spreading. We will both see I suppose.

  2. I love this plant and found some in my neighbor's yard a couple of years ago. It died out but I keep looking for more.

    On a recent tour of native plant gardens sponsored by the Wildflower Center in Austin we saw a garden using this plant as a groundcover for a large area and also saw it featured as groundcover at the Wildflower Center gardens.

    1. Did you post any photos of the tour involving Catclaw as ground cover?

  3. Great choice for Wildflower Wednesday! I really enjoy the foliage, too, although the blooms are so unique.

  4. We have the same plant out on our school playground. They kids love them and treat them like class pets. Nice that this little plant can help the city kids connect with nature. David/:0)

  5. What an interesting plant. It has lovely blooms and such delicate foliage.

  6. I've seen this plant but not the flowers, which look like fireworks to me. Very interesting that the leaves close when touched. Your meadow is amazing! :o)

  7. Hi! I was wondering if you could tell me the name of that white flower in the photo.


Thanks for leaving any comments, they are always welcomed. Sorry I had to add word verification as spam was becoming a huge problem. Greggo,