“Slave Steps” plant, such a horrible history. 

Just returned from Negril, Jamaica. Had the opportunity to eat at Zimbali’s Mountain Cooking School and tour their organic farm with the head gardener. Mangos, sugarcane, bananas, pumpkins, coconuts, plantains, papayas, all grown there. And then the farmer drew our attention to a little ground plant called Mimosa purdica. It’s known in other countries as “Tickle Me” plant, but in Jamaica it’s name is much more sinister–“Slave Steps.” The horrible name refers to the island’s colonial past. If an enslaved person tried to escape a plantation, his or her path could be followed, because once disturbed, “Slave Steps” completely folds shut. A path of closed foliage indicated foot traffic that could lead to the poor soul trying to escape.

Undisturbed “Slave Steps” on the left. On the right, foliage closes everywhere I touch.