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Balsaminaceae: Touch-Me-Not Family Plant Identification Characteristics.

Balsaminaceae
Plants of the Touch-Me-Not Family

      Jewelweed (Impatiens) really stands out when you come across it. It has translucent, watery stems and a distinctive irregular blossom. There are 3 (rarely 5) petal-like sepals of unequal size, the lowest one forming a nectar-filled spur visible on the back of the flower. Plants produce the sugary nectar to attract insects to facilitate pollination. There are 5 petals, 2 of which are united, plus 5 stamens. The ovary is positioned superior. It consists of 5 united carpels with the partition walls present, forming an equal number of chambers. Each carpel produces 2 to numerous seeds. In many species the ovary matures as a capsule that explodes when touched, hence the common name of the family. The leaf has a silvery appearance when held underwater.

      Worldwide, there are 2 genera and more than 850 species. Hydrocera triflora is native to southern India and southern China. Everything else in the family has been classified or reclassified within Impatiens. Buzzy lizzy (I. walleriana) and several other species are cultivated as garden flowers and houseplants. Some species of Impatiens have been used to produce red, yellow and black dyes.

Key Words: Delicate, juicy plants with irregular flowers and spurs.

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Ornamental touch-me-not: Impatiens glandulifera.

Ornamental touch-me-not: Impatiens glandulifera.

Ornamental touch-me-not: Impatiens glandulifera.

Ornamental touch-me-not: Impatiens glandulifera. Photographed as an introduced weed in Sweden.

Ornamental touch-me-not: Impatiens glandulifera.

Ornamental touch-me-not: Impatiens glandulifera.

Foraging the Mountain West
Foraging the Mountain West

There are more
Touch-Me-Not Family pictures
at PlantSystematics.org.


Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
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Botany in a Day
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Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills.
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Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.
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Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
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