The Narrow-leaved Sensitive Brier (Schrankia microphylla) is found scattered throughout Virginia. It is a perennial herb with trailing, weakly arching stems that are armed with prickles. Tiny rose-colored flowers are borne in round clusters. Plants are so sensitive that the leaves fold and droop when any part of the plant is touched. It blooms locally from June thru September and is found primarily in sandy soils of fields and open woodlands.
This native species is a member of the bean family and related to the true Sensitive Plant of commercial interest. We don't often think of plants as having a nervous system; the Sensitive Briers illustrate this unusual feature.
Copyright © 2001–2002 William T. Hathaway.