This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
A delicate plant and scarce in this country, Touch-me-not has apparently not been preserved in any seed-bearing beds. It is confined to the Northern Cold Temperate Zone, and is distributed sparingly throughout Europe, Siberia, and West Asia. It is recorded in twenty-four vice-counties, but except in Salop, Montgomery, West Lancashire, and Westmorland, all west of the Pennine Chain, it is doubtfully indigenous, and probably an escape. It is found in Ireland.
Yellow Balsam certainly seems to be wild in the dingles of Shropshire, where it grows in moist wooded places adjoining rivers in upland districts. It is associated there with such plants as Elecampane and Dame's Violet, both equally uncommon, and Water Pepper, Water Mints, amongst more common semi-aquatic species.
This is a tender succulent plant, tall and semi-erect, irregularly branched from a single main stem, the branches opposite, and the nodes swollen. The leaves are thin, egg-shaped to lance-shaped, coarsely toothed, the whole plant smooth, flat, and shining, and the plant grows in extensive beds like Musk, the stems requiring support. The leaves protect the flowers from the rain. They are expanded during the day, but at night they hang down.
The flower-stalks are erect at first, but bend down. The flowers are yellow, with red spots and blotches, large, the large sepal hood-shaped, drooping, the spur curved backwards. The flower-stalks bear numerous clustered flowers, but are themselves solitary. There are two outer opposite sepals, which are flat and oblique. The upper sepal, owing to the twisted pedicel (lowermost) is large, and is spurred; the lower petal (uppermost) is small, but broad and hollow. The two innermost petals are irregular, oblique and irregularly lobed.