Fine Art

Impatiens balsamina

Impatiens balsamina, Photo: Michael Lahanas

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Ordo: Ericales

Familia: Balsaminaceae
Genus: Impatiens
Sectio: I. sect. Uniflorae
Species: Impatiens balsamina

Impatiens balsamina L., Sp. Pl. 2: 938. 1753.

Lectotype, designated by Christenhusz & Jarvis 2010: 61: Anon. s.n. ex Herb. Linnaeus No. 1053.3 (LINN).


Balsamina balsamina Huth, Helios 11: 133. 1893, nom. inval., nom. inadmiss.
Balsamina foemina Gaertn., Fruct. Sem. Pl. 2: 151, t. 113, fig. 4. 1790, nom. illeg.
Balsamina lacca Medik., Malvenfam. 71. 1787.
Impatiens balsamina var. vulgaris Wight & Arn., Prodr. Fl. Ind. Orient. 136. 1834, nom. inval., nom. inadmiss.
Balsamina angustifolia Blume, Bijdr. 239. 1825.
Balsamina coccinea DC., Prodr. 1: 685. 1824.
Balsamina cornuta (L.) DC., Prodr. 1: 686. 1824.
Balsamina hortensis Desp., Dict. Sc. Nat. 3: 485. 1816, nom. illeg. non St.Hil. (1808).
Balsamina minutiflora Spanoghe, Linnaea 15: 185. 1841.
Balsamina mollis (Wall.) G.Don, Gen. Hist. 1: 749. 1831.
Balsamina odorata Buch.-Ham. ex D.Don, Prodr. Fl. Nepal. 203. 1825.
Impatiens angustifolia (Blume) Steud., Nomencl. Bot., ed. 2. 1: 804. 1840, nom. illeg. non Blume 1823.
Impatiens arcuata Wall. ex Wight & Arn., Prodr. Fl. Ind. Orient. 136. 1834.
Impatiens balsamina var. arcuata (Wall. ex Wight & Arn.) Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 1: 454. 1874.
Impatiens balsamina var. coccinea (DC.) Hook.f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 1: 454. 1874.
Impatiens balsamina var. cornuta (L.) Trimen, Handb. Fl. Ceylon 1: 203. 1893.
Impatiens balsamina var. macrantha Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 1: 454. 1874.
Impatiens balsamina var. micrantha Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 1: 454. 1874.
Impatiens cornuta L., Sp. Pl. 2: 937. 1753.
Impatiens giorgii De Wild., Pl. Bequaert. 1: 358. 1922.
Impatiens lobbiana Turcz., Bull. Soc. Imp. Naturalistes Moscou 32: 270. 1859.
Impatiens mollis Wall. in Roxburgh, Fl. Ind. 2: 461. 1824.
Impatiens salicifolia Turcz., Bull. Soc. Imp. Naturalistes Moscou 32: 271. 1859.

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Asia-Tropical
Regional: Indian Subcontinent
India, Sri Lanka.
Widely introduced.

Source(s) of checklist:

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus II: 938. Reference page.
Christenhusz, M.J.M. & Jarvis, C.E. 2010. Typification of ornamental plants 3: Impatiens balsamina (Balsaminaceae). Phytotaxa 3: 61. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.3.1.10 Open access Reference page.
Wunderlin, R.P. & Hansen, B.F. 2008. Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants. Institute for Systematic Botany, University of South Florida, Tampa [1].


Hassler, M. 2019. Impatiens balsamina. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2019. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2019 Apr. 07. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Impatiens balsamina in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2020 Feb 11. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2019. Impatiens balsamina. Published online. Accessed: Apr. 07 2019.
The Plant List 2013. Impatiens balsamina in The Plant List Version 1.1. Published online. Accessed: 2019 Apr. 07. 2019. Impatiens balsamina. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 07 Apr. 2019.

Vernacular names
العربية: بلظامينا
azərbaycanca: Balzam xınagülü
Deutsch: Balsamine, Balsam-Springkraut
English: Garden balsam, garden jewelweed, rose balsam, touch-me-not
Esperanto: Netuŝumino
español: Miramelindo, balsamina, madama o alegría
suomi: Mummonpalsami
français: Balsamine des jardins
հայերեն: Հինածաղիկ
Bahasa Indonesia: Pacar air
Ido: Balzamino
日本語: ホウセンカ
Jawa: Pacar Banyu
한국어: 봉선화
Minangkabau: Paru inai
മലയാളം: കാശിത്തുമ്പ
Bahasa Melayu: Pokok Keembong
Kapampangan: Kamantigi
polski: Niecierpek balsamina
português: Beijo-de-frade
русский: Недотрога бальзаминовая
svenska: Balsamin
lea faka-Tonga: Polosomo
Tiếng Việt: Bóng nước (thực vật)
中文: 凤仙花,指甲花

Impatiens balsamina, commonly known as balsam, garden balsam, rose balsam, touch-me-not[1] or spotted snapweed,[2] is a species of plant native to India and Myanmar.[1]

It is an annual plant growing to 20–75 cm tall, with a thick, but soft stem. The leaves are spirally-arranged, 2.5–9 cm long and 1–2.5 cm broad, with a deeply toothed margin. The flowers are pink, red, mauve, purple, lilac, or white, and 2.5–5 cm diameter; they are pollinated by bees and other insects, and also by nectar-feeding birds.[3] The ripe seed capsules undergo explosive dehiscence.[4]

Human use

Different parts of the plant are used as traditional remedies for disease and skin afflictions. Juice from the leaves is used to treat warts and snakebite, and the flower is applied to burns.[5] This species has been used as indigenous traditional medicine in Asia for rheumatism, fractures, and other ailments.[6] In Korean folk medicine, this impatiens species is used as a medicine called bongseonhwa dae (봉선화대) for the treatment of constipation and gastritis.[7] Chinese people used the plant to treat those bitten by snakes or who ingested poisonous fish.[8] Juice from the stalk, pulverised dried stalks, and pastes from the flowers were also used to treat a variety of ailments.[8] Vietnamese wash their hair with an extract of the plant to stimulate hair growth.[8] One in vitro study found extracts of this impatiens species, especially of the seed pod, to be active against antibiotic-resistant strains of Helicobacter pylori.[6] It is also an inhibitor of 5α-reductases, enzymes that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (active form of testosterone), thus reducing action of testosterone in our body.[9]

In Korea, the flowers are crushed and mixed with alum to produce an orange dye that can be used to dye fingernails. Unlike common nail varnish, the dye is semi-permanent, requiring dyed nails to grow off over time in order to remove any traces of color.[10][11]

The naphthoquinones lawsone, or hennotannic acid, and lawsone methyl ether and methylene-3,3'-bilawsone are some of the active compounds in I. balsamina leaves.[12] It also contains kaempferol and several derivatives.[13] Baccharane glycosides have been found in Chinese herbal remedies made from the seeds.[14]

It is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant, and has become naturalised and invasive on several Pacific Ocean islands.[4]
In popular culture

The Japanese vocaloid song Housenka (鳳仙花, which translates to Impatiens Balsamina) describes a person who doesn't fit in with a social group despite wanting to.[15] In the music video, the singer laments this fate and compares herself to the plant. She references its "touch-me-not" nickname and the Hedgehog's Dilemma-esque explosive dehiscence of its seeds by saying:

"Don't touch me," the balsam [says], fallen silent. And yet it can't leave seeds unless it breaks from its shell.[15]


"Impatiens balsamina". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 20 April 2019.
USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Impatiens balsamina". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
Impatiens balsamina. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER).
Plants for a Future: Impatiens balsamina
Wang YC, Wu DC, Liao JJ, Wu CH, Li WY, Weng BC (2009). "In vitro activity of Impatiens balsamina L. against multiple antibiotic-resistant Helicobacter pylori". Am. J. Chin. Med. 37 (4): 713–22. doi:10.1142/S0192415X09007181. PMID 19655409.
Park JH, Kim JM, Do WI (2003). "Pharmacognostical studies on the folk medicine bong seon wha dae". Korean Journal of Pharmacognosy. 34 (3): 193–96.
Christopher Cumo. "Impatiens". Encyclopedia of Cultivated Plants: From Acacia to Zinnia. Christopher Cumo, ed. ABC-CLIO, 2013. p. 523. ISBN 9781598847758
Ishiguro K, Oku H, Kato T (February 2000). "Testosterone 5α‐reductase inhibitor bisnaphthoquinone derivative from Impatiens balsamina". Phytother Res. 14 (1): 54–6. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1573(200002)14:1<54::AID-PTR540>3.0.CO;2-Q. PMID 10641051.
"Naturally dyed red nails". JoongAng Daily. 12 September 2004. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
"Summer, the Way It Used to Be..." The Korea Times. 16 June 2008. Archived from the original on 16 June 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
Sakunphueak A, Panichayupakaranant P (2010). "Simultaneous determination of three naphthoquinones in the leaves of Impatiens balsamina L. by reversed‐phase high‐performance liquid chromatography". Phytochem Anal. 21 (5): 444–50. doi:10.1002/pca.1216. PMID 20931623.
Hua L, Peng Z, Chia LS, Goh NK, Tan SN (February 2001). "Separation of kaempferols in Impatiens balsamina flowers by capillary electrophoresis with electrochemical detection". J Chromatogr A. 909 (2): 297–303. doi:10.1016/S0021-9673(00)01102-X. PMID 11269529.
Li HJ, Yu JJ, Li P (March 2011). "Simultaneous qualification and quantification of baccharane glycosides in Impatientis Semen by HPLC–ESI-MSD and HPLC–ELSD". J Pharm Biomed Anal. 54 (4): 674–80. doi:10.1016/j.jpba.2010.10.014. PMID 21075577.
【Yuzuki Yukari】Balsam【Original】 (in Japanese), 2013-07-31, retrieved 2022-05-30

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