This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
The Balsame, to which the present species belongs, affect shady, damp localities, and the decayed mould of large forests in both hemispheres;, they are annual or perennial plants, with cylindrical stalks and branches, smooth, frequently swollen at their articulations, and filled with a very abundant watery juice; the leaves are alternate, or opposite, nearly always dentated, and unprovided with leaf scales.
The common Balsam, introduced into Europe at the beginning of the sixteenth century, has served as the type of this family, to which the earlier botanists added a plant of the group of the Cucurbitaceae, the Mamordia bahamina; a whimsical connection, indeed, but one which indicates a tendency to generic approximations, founded, in this case, on the dehiscence of the fruit, which, at maturity, bursts open with great elasticity.
Like the Tropeolae (Capucines), which resemble them, the Balsams present us with a remarkable variety in the color of their flowers, and the species under consideration exhibits this, in a high degree, in a mixture more curious than harmonious of green, yellow, and red.
The Impatient Jerdonim is a native of the Neilgherry Hills; its stalks, which are carneous, of a deep violet brown color, and of the size of one's little finger, and very smooth, are generally provided with joints, which render them very fragile; the edges of its leaves, which are oval, thin, and of a bright green hue, are furnished with teeth, terminating in a sort of brown or violet-colored gland; the flowers spring from the summit of short, axillary peduncles, and are supported by long, straight pedicles, of a beautiful carmine red color, the tops of which are lost in the bases of the calycine leaflets. Of these leaflets, the lateral ones are oval, lanceolate, of an herbaceous (greenish) color, whilst the upper one, yellow, and hood-shaped, has merely a green line in the centre; therefore, as may be seen, the Impatiens Jerdonict owes all its qualities to one of its petals; this portion of the flower, which is of a beautiful carmine red, and shaped like a bag, terminates, inferiorly, in a kind of hook, or straightened point, in the species under consideration, whilst, in others, it is extended to a cylindrical and delicate point, which has received the name of spur.
In short, the original character of the flower of the Impatient Jerdoniae, and its profuse crop of flowers, make it desirable, and class it in our greenhouses with the Imp-Hens platypetala, Hookeriana, etc. Like the latter, and the Imp. glanduiigera, Royleana, fulva, etc., which so greatly contribute to the beauty of groups planted in the shade, it requires the same care in cultivation. J. Degaisne.