Impatiens capensis Meerb. - Touch-me-not
Family - Balsaminaceae
Stems - To 1.5m tall, branching above, erect, herbaceous, easily broken, succulent, glabrous, somewhat glaucous, hollow when larger.
Leaves - Alternate, petiolate. Petiole to +/-5cm long, glabrous. Blade ovate to elliptic, shallow serrate, to 10cm long, +/-5cm broad, somewhat glaucous. Teeth of blade with whitish mucro at apex.
Inflorescence - Clusters of 1-3 pedicillate flowers from leaf axils. Pedicels to 3cm long, sometimes with one or two small scale-like bracts.
Flowers - Petals 5, appearing as only 3 petals because of the union of the lateral petals, orange-yellow. Sepals 3, orange-yellow. Larger sepal with spur to +1mm long. Stamens 5, connate around stigma. Pistil 1. Ovary 5-locular. Capsules exploding(elastically dehiscent) when touched, to 3cm long, 1cm wide.
Flowering - May - October.
Habitat - Moist ground, low woods, slopes, stream banks, ravines.
Origin - Native to U.S.
Other info. - Everyone loves
to play with the elastically dehiscent seed pods of this plant and it's
relative I. pallida Nutt. The pods give a little "pop"
when touched, and the seeds fly a pretty good distance. The stems of the
plant are easily broken and contain a highly mucilaginous fluid which is
supposed to remedy skin irritations caused by other plants. How convenient
that this species shares the same habitat as the "Stinging Nettles" (Urtica
Photographs taken in Brown Summit, NC., 7-15-02.