Wetland Plants of Wisconsin

Impatiens capensis Meerb.
Family: Basaminaceae
fruit and seeds

The bright orange flowers and curved spur of Impatiens capensis, are unique in our flora (though there is another species in the same genus with yellow flowers, Impatiens pallida). It is an annual, so the plants must germinate from seed each year, they begin growth very early in the spring and virtually all plants will flower each year, unless damaged. Flowering begins in July and fruit is mature in August and September. At maturity the fruits will snap open if touched ("touch-me-not"), abruptly throwing the seeds several feet away and providing no end of entertainment for children of all ages. Young stems have a high water content and are somewhat "fleshy" if pinched. In this regard they are obviously similar to the horticultural Impatiens often grown in this area. The habitat is almost always wet.

Also known as Impatiens biflora.

known Wisconsin distribution


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