Shameful grass

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Liwei Jiao sent in this photograph from a park in Hefei, China:

Such notices (do not disturb; tiny grass is sleeping / dreaming / smiling) are virtually a genre unto themselves (see here), with many variants and classics that can suck you in for an afternoon, and since I haven't written about them for awhile, and since this one can teach us something interesting about botany, I decided to write this brief post about it.

xiǎo cǎo hánxiū xiào


the tiny grass is smiling shyly / bashfully

qǐng nín wù dǎrǎo

请您勿打扰    (您 is honorific 2nd person)

please don't disturb

Inept use of the embarrassingly creepy Chinese adverb for smiling here is further muddled by the fact that it serves as a descriptor for grass to form the plant name hánxiū cǎo 含羞草  ("mimosa [Mimosa pudica]" also called sensitive plant, sleepy plant, action plant, humble plant, touch-me-not, or shameplant") — it swiftly draws back and closes up if you so much as touch it).  A lot more could be said about the plant and the cocktail named after it, but that's a rabbit hole I'd rather not go down this afternoon.

Selected reading

1 Comment

  1. John Rohsenow said,

    May 25, 2024 @ 7:03 am

    Also "shy grass".

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