Indonesia Inquiry

Witty Word – Putri Malu

August 5, 2011 Language Learning Travel & Living Abroad 0

Mimosa pudica comes from the Latin term “pudica” meaning shy, bashful or shrinking.  The plant is more popularly known as the Sensitive Plant.  It is a creeping annual or perennial herb, and in many locations it is considered an invasive weed.  The plant has leaves that fold inward and can droop when exposed to touch and heat.  Interestingly, the plant’s leaves re-open later when the “danger” has passed.  Although the species is native to Central America and South America, it is now found in multiple countries in other parts of the world.

This plant is being highlighted in the language section of Indonesia Inquiry because of its clever name in Bahasa Indonesia.  Rather that call mimosa pudica the “sensitive plant,” Indonesians use the term”Putri Malu,” which translates to “Shy Princess.”  How clever, yes?