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ORRIN MORRIS: Touch a young sensitive briar and watch the leaves close up

Psalm 43:5 reads "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why are you so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God."

Pray that the spirit of Christ will become evident among our state and national legislators who profess to be Christian.

We urgently need to see the attitude of Jesus stated in Matthew 9:36 "And seeing the multitudes, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd."

Such sensitivity will be like a cool breeze on a scorching hot summer day.LITTLELEAF SENSITIVE BRIAR

Mimosa microphyllaLocally, this plant is called sensitive briar, but in other regions of the U.S, it is usually called cat's claw. The blooms look like puffs of pink smoke, but an up-close look reminds me of rocket bursts on the Fourth of July. You know what I mean, the "star" that explodes with small rockets shooting out in every direction forming a ball-shaped configuration.

Of course, it takes imagination to convert a 1-inch bloom into such a spectacular display, but a magnifying glass helps.

Such close examination of the bloom reveals that the "exploding small rockets" are purplish-pink stamen. The pollen at the end is light yellow and there are no petals.

Sensitive briar is a part of the legume family, therefore the seed pods are pea-shaped. The branching, trailing plant winds its way up to 4 feet through underbrush in sandy roadsides.

My first encounter was on Haralson Mill Road near the Big Haynes Creek Bridge before the Covered Bridge was built. Since then I have encountered them on several occasions.

The name sensitive briar refers to the leaves. Older plants have leaves up to 6 inches long but the younger ones, - to 1-inch long, are the most fun. You touch one and the whole branch full of leaves start closing.

The blooming season extends from June through September, according to "Wildflowers of the Eastern United States," by Wilbur and Marion Duncan.

Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. Notecards are available of the wildflowers published in the Citizen. His email is odmsketchingpad@yahoo.com or call him at 770-929-3697.