Impatiens pallida. Pale Touch-me-not.
Flowers. - Pale yellow, somewhat spotted with reddish-brown; common northward.
Impatiens fulva. Spotted Touch-me-not.
Flowers. - Orange-yellow, spotted with reddish-brown; common south-yard.
Two to six feet high. Leaves. - Alternate, coarsely toothed, oval. Flowers. - Nodding, loosely clustered, or growing from the axils of the leaves. Calyx and Corolla. - Colored alike, and difficult to distinguish; of six pieces, the largest one extended backward into a deep sac ending in a little spur, the two innermost unequally two-lobed. Stamens. - Five, very short, united over the pistil. Pistil. - One.
These beautiful plants are found along shaded streams and marshes, and are profusely hung with brilliant jewel-like flowers during the summer months. In the later year they bear those closed inconspicuous blossoms which fertilize in the bud and are called cleistogamous flowers. The jewel-weed has begun to appear along the English rivers, and it is said that the ordinary showy blossoms are comparatively rare, while the cleistogamous ones abound. Does not this look almost like a determination on the part of the plant to secure a firm foothold in its new environment before expending its energy on flowers which, though radiant and attractive, are quite dependent on insect-visitors for fertilization and perpetuation ?
Plate LIV. Pale Jewel-Weed. - I. pallida
The name touch-me-not refers to the seed-pods, which burst open with such violence when touched, as to project their seeds to a comparatively great distance. This ingenious mechanism secures the dispersion of the seeds without the aid of the wind or animals. In parts of New York the plant is called "silver-leaf," from its silvery appearance when touched with rain or dew, or when held beneath the water.