October 13th, 2011

words are sexy

thigmotropism

thigmotropism (thig-MO-truh-piz-uhm) - n., the growth or motion of an organism in response to touch.


Specifically, contact with a solid object -- for example, a tendril twining around a branch. Also called stereotropism, which I'm sure you'll all agree isn't nearly as poetic, or thigmotaxis. Coined in the late 1890s from Greek roots thigma, touch + -tropism, turning toward.

When we touch the sensitive plant, thigmotropism kicks in and its leaves close up.

---L.