Herbs annual, with a succulent stem and watery juice. Lvs. simple, without stipules. Fls. very irregular and unsymmetrical. Sepals 5, deciduous, the 2 upper connate, the lowest spurred or gibbous. Petals 4, hypogynous, united by pairs, or rarely 5, distinct. Stamens 5, hypogynous. Filaments subulate. Anth. 2-celled.
Stig. 5-lobed, sessile. Fr. capsular, 5-celled, bursting elastically by 5 valves. Sds.
several in each cell. Embryo straight. (Figures 114, 281, 282.)
IMPATIENS, L. Touch-me-not. (Impatient with respect to the irritable capsules.) Sepals colored, apparently but 4 (the 2 upper being united), the lowest gibbous and spurred; petals apparently 2, each of the lower being united to the 2 lateral ones; stamens 5, short, anthers cohering at apex; capsule often 1-celled by the obliteration of the dissepiments, 5-valved bursting elastically. - Sts. smooth, succulent, tender, subpellucid, with tumid joints.
1 I. pallida Nutt. Lvs. oblong-ovate, coarsely and obtusely serrate, teeth mucro-nate; ped. 2 to 4-flowered, elongated; lower gibbous sepals dilated-conical, broader than long, with a very short, recurved spur; fls. pale yellow, sparingly doited.-
Wet shady places, U. S. and Can. St. 2 to 4f high, branched. Lvs. 2 to 5' long, 1/3 as wide, with large, obtuse teeth, each tipped with a very short mucro Fls. large, mostly in pairs. Two outer sepals pale green, callous pointed, the rest pale yellow, the lower produced into a conic nectary, ending in a spur 1/4 long. Caps. oblong-cylindrie 1' long, bursting at the slightest touch when mature, and scattering the seed. Aug.
2 I. fulva Nutt Lvs. rhombic-ovate, obtusish, coarsely and obtusely serrate, teeth mucronate; ped. 2 to 4-flowered, short; lower gibbous sepal, acutely conical, longer than broad, with an elongated, closely reflexed spur; fls. deep orange, maculate with many brown spots.- In wet, shady grounds, Can. to Ga., more common than the last, somewhat glaucous. St. 1 1/2 - 3f high. Lvs. 1 to 3' long, 1/2 as wide, having like the last a few filiform teeth at the base. Fls. about 1' in length, the recurved spur of the lower sepals 1/2' long. Caps. as in the last. Aug.
3 I. Balsamina L. Balsamine. Lvs. lanceolate, serrate, upper ones alternate; ped. clustered; spur shorter than the flower.- From the E. Indies. It is one of the most beautiful of garden annuals, forming a showy pyramid of finely variegated, carnation-like flowers. The prevailing colors of the petals are red and white, but the former varies in every possible shade of crimson, scarlet, purple, pink and flesh color. Fls. often double.