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Quail-Friendly Plants of the Midwest

Sensitive brier

  • Mimosa quadrivalvis var. nuttallii
  • Devil's shoestrings, Mimosa

Forb

Brood coverFood
Stems trail along the ground and are covered with short, hooked barbs

Stems trail along the ground and are covered with short, hooked barbs.

©Ted Bodner, USDA-NRCS Plants Database


 

Leaves fold up when touched

Flower heads are bright fuchsia spheres, tipped with yellow stamens. The common name of this plant comes from the tendency of the leaves to fold up when touched.

©Don Kurz

Seedpods

Even the seedpods of this plant are covered with short bristles.

Matt Seek, Missouri Department of Conservation

Seeds

Seeds are about 3 mm long, brown and somewhat rounded.

Steve Hurst, USDA-NRCS Plants Database

Description

This trailing legume of dry prairies, glades and rocky savannas has a distinctive appearance. The prostrate stems are covered with hooked barbs. Doubly compound, featherlike leaves close rapidly when touched or disturbed. Flower clusters are just as distinctive, a fuchsia ball dotted with contrasting yellow stamens. Like the stems, seedpods are covered with barbs, but when opened reveal many seeds about 1/8 inch across.

Bloom period

May to September

Use by bobwhites

A legume, sensitive brier is used by bobwhites as a food source and as a component of brood habitat. Quail nests have been found in and under sensitive brier, where it may afford better protection from predators than plants without the sharp thorns.


 

 

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MP903 Quail-Friendly Plants of the Midwest | Page 46 | University of Missouri Extension