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Mimosa or Neptunia
last fall I came across an interesting plant in a LFS. There was several
1-foot long branches floating on water surface, with something that looked
like cotton wrapped around the stems. The leaves were excactly like mimosa
leaves, they even rectracted when touched. The shopkeeper told me they came
from Holland, but couldn't give me a valid species name, the retailer had
talked about "Mimosa alfionsa" which I've found nowhere.
I found a short description of apparently the same plant in R. E. Holttum's
"Plant Life in Malaya" (first published in 1954, my book 1989, ISBN 0 582
69445 0), p. 212, by the name of Neptunia oleracea.
The author describes a floating plant that produces spongy tissue to act as
a flotation device; the roots trail freely in water. There is also a nice
drawing, along with Pistia, Utricularia and a Cryptocoryne.
Do you guys know anything about this plant? I don't know if Mimosa has been
revised recently, in the Internet I found very little information about this
family. My plants rotted away pretty soon, so obviously I would like to know
how to take care of them, too. A friend told me her rainbow fishes ate away
the white tissue, which we both really thought at first to be wet cotton!
Jouni Jaakkola, Finland