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Impatiens capensis

Impatiens capensis

Impatiens capensis

These flowers are pretty to look at and have a sweet smell, but they're no Aphrodite. In fact, some gardeners believe that they will trigger allergies.Impatiens capensis was transported in the 19th and 20th centuries to England, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Finland, and potentially other areas of northern and central Europe. These naturalized populations persist in the absence of any common cultivation by people. This jewelweed species is quite similar to Impatiens noli-tangere, an Impatiens species native to Europe and Asia, as well as the other North American Impatiens. No evidence exists of natural hybrids, although the habitats occupied by the two species are very similar.

Impatiens

As its common name implies, jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) has a very beautiful flower. One of the sepals (outer parts of the flower) is modified into a large, pouch-like structure with a long spur, which gives the flower a pleasingly artistic shape. Its interesting shape, bright orange color, and decorative red-orange flecks make the jewelweed flower irresistible to people and pollinators A self-seeding annual, jewelweed typically grows two to five feet in height. It has weak, watery stems and alternately-arranged, oval-shaped leaves with toothed margins. Seedlings sprout in early spring and reach maximum size by August. Flowering begins in mid-summer and continues until frost kills the plant. The fruit is an elongated capsule, which, when ripe, bursts open at the slightest touch. Jewelweed resembles the closely-related pale touch-me-not (Impatiens pallida), which can be distinguished by its yellow flowers.

The species name capensis, meaning “of the cape”, was applied because its origin was mistakenly thought to be from South Africa. It is common and widespread in moist, shady areas such as low woodlands, margins of bogs and marshes, along streams and lakes, in ditches, and in disturbed areas such as road cuts.Mesic to wet-mesic, commonly shaded, soil of deciduous forests, stream banks, ditches, and swamps. Impatiens capensis and I. pallida are often found vegetative or in fruit and, therefore, lack obvious means of identification. Impatiens capensis typically has longer-petioled upper leaves (i.e., petioles longer than 1 cm on all fully expanded leaves) and the leaf blades are flat. Impatiens pallida usually has the upper few leaves short-petiolate (i.e., petioles shorter than 1 cm), and these blades are usually folded downward about the basal portion of the midrib. Compare these features on flowering individuals to learn the vegetative characters. (Source:gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org)

 

 

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