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The Sensitive Plant

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

The Sensitive Plant :: mimosa pudica


crescograph:: noun:: an instrument for making perceptible the growth of plants:: from crescere:: Latin root; to increase.

Jagadis Chandra Bose with his invention of the crescograph provided a portal through which man could observe evidence that plants have a sensitive nervous system and a varied emotional life.

Love & hate. Joy & fear. Pleasure & pain. Excitability & stupor.

During a visit to his laboratory, Bose said to Young Yoganada, “I will attach the crescograph to this fern; the magnification is tremendous. If a snail’s crawl were enlarged in the same proportion, the creature would appear to be traveling like an express train!”

Yogananda recalls, “My gaze was fixed eagerly on the screen which reflected the magnified fern-shadow. Minute life-movements were now very clearly perceptible; the plant was growing very slowly before my fascinated eyes. The scientist touched the tip of the fern with a small metal bar. The developing pantomime came to an abrupt halt, resuming its eloquent rhythm as soon as the rod was withdrawn.’

Bose explains, “You saw how any slight outside interference is detrimental to the sensitive tissues. Watch; I will now administer chloroform, and then give an antidote.”

Yogananda notes, “The effect of the chloroform discontinued all growth; the antidote was revivifying. The evolutionary gestures on the screen held me more raptly than a "movie" plot. My companion (here in the role of villain) thrust a sharp instrument through a part of the fern; pain was indicated by spasmodic flutters. When he passed a razor partially through the stem, the shadow was violently agitated, then stilled itself with the final punctuation of death.“

-from the Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda

Ask the sensitive plant, how do you feel?

When I touch you, do you recourse in pain.

Or do you feel tickled by the presence of a visitor?

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