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Neptunia oleracea
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Clade: Mimosoid clade
Genus: Neptunia

N. oleracea

Binomial name
Neptunia oleracea


  • Neptunia natans (Druce)
  • Neptunia prostrata (Baillon)
  • Neptunia aquatica (Pers.)

Neptunia oleracea, commonly known in English as water mimosa or sensitive neptunia, is pantropical nitrogen-fixing perennial legume. Genus and common name come from Neptune, god of the sea, in reference to lớn the aquatic habit of some species in the genus.

Its specific epithet oleracea means "vegetable/herbal" in Latin and is a size of holeraceus (oleraceus).[1][2]


Aerenchyma (white spongy air-conducting tissue that gives stems buoyancy) forms on stems floating in water, but does not size on stems growing on land. Plants typically grow to lớn as much as 6" tall, but stems will spread in the water to lớn 3-5' long. Stems are clad with bi-pinnate, fine, mimosa-like sensitive leaves that close up when touched. Primary leaf segments have 8-40 small oblong leaflets arranged in opposite pairs. Tiny greenish-yellow flowers are densely crowded into feathery orbicular inflorescences that bloom in summer. Fruits are flat pods (to 1-2" long). Floating aquatic plant stems often size thick foliage mats and is considered to lớn be an invasive aquatic weed in some tropical waters where large mats may size that choke waterways, resulting in restricted water flow, reduced water quality, reduced fish activity and loss of some underwater and native wetland plants.


Primarily found growing prostrate in wet soils near the water's edge or floating on the water in relatively still-water areas. The native habitat of Neptunia oleracea is unknown, but some experts believe it is in the area of Mexico to lớn northern South America.



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This plant is cultivated as a vegetable in southeast Asia (leaves and shoots have cabbage-like flavor). Young ends of stems and pods are edible and usually eaten raw as a vegetable in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia and cultivated much lượt thích rice. The young leaves, shoot tips and young pods are usually eaten raw or in stir-fries and curries such as kaeng som.[3]

  • Yam phak krachet, a Thai salad made with cooked water mimosa

    Yam phak krachet, a Thai salad made with cooked water mimosa

  • Lao-style green papaya salad (left) served with raw sprigs of water mimosa (right)

    Lao-style green papaya salad (left) served with raw sprigs of water mimosa (right)


Juice of the stem and roots are used for medicinal purposes. Whole plant extract exhibited cytotoxic activity on neoplastic cell lines[citation needed]. Extract of the herb exhibited hepatoprotective activity[citation needed].

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Common names[edit]

  • Khmer: Kanchait (កញ្ឆែត)
  • Meiteilon/Manipuri: Eshing ekai thabi
  • Thai: Phak runon (ผักรู้นอน) or phak krachet (ผักกระเฉด), pronounced "phak kachēt".[4]
  • Vietnamese: Rau nhút
  • Sinhalese: දිය නිදිකුම්බා
  • Tamil language: Cuṇṭi or nīrc-cuṇṭi,[5] referring to lớn its sensitivity to lớn touch (cuṇṭu: to lớn tap with thumb or finger)[6]
  • Mon: Khamək (ခမက်)


  1. ^ Parker, Peter (2018). A Little Book of Latin for Gardeners. Little Brown Book Group. p. 328. ISBN 978-1-4087-0615-2. oleraceus, holeraceus = relating to lớn vegetables or kitchen garden
  2. ^ Whitney, William Dwight (1899). The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia. Century Co. p. 2856. L. holeraceus, prop. oleraceus, herb-like, holus, prop. olus (oler-), herbs, vegetables
  3. ^ Nutritional composition of traditional Thai foods used local vegetables Archived 2012-12-12 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Thai Vegetable guide". Archived from the original on 2011-08-16. Retrieved 2011-08-11.
  5. ^ Madras Tamil Lexicon, also Tamil Dictionary, Winslow
  6. ^ Dravidian Etymological Dictionary, 2663

External links[edit]

  • Media related to lớn Neptunia oleracea at Wikimedia Commons
  • The Vegetable Sector in Thailand
  • Neptunia oleracea in West African plants – A Photo Guide.