Impatiens balsamina Linn., Sp. Pl. 938. 1753. Hook. f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 1:453.1874 & in Rec. Bot. Surv. Ind. 4:7.1904; Cooke, Fl. Pres. Bomb. 1:184.1901; L.H. Bailey, Stand. Encylop. Hort. 3:1642.1915; Pobedimova, l.c. 633.
Annual, 45-60 cm tall, pubescent. Leaves lanceolate, 30-90 x 10-30 mm, serrate. Flowers white, orange, pink-red or purple, 25-30 mm long, axillary, solitary or 2(-3); pedicel up to 1-5 mm long. Lateral sepals c. 1.5 mm long, ovate, sparsely ciliate; lower sepal conical, spur 10-20 mm long, curved. Capsule broadly elliptic to fusiform, 1.2-1.4 mm long, densely tomentose, pendulous. Seeds sub-globose, minutely tuberculate.
Fl. Per.: Late August-September.
Type locality: India.
Distribution: Cultivated as an ornamental in tropical and sub-tropical regions of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaya and also in China; introduced in Turkey and S. Europe.
The ‘garden balsam’ or ‘touch-me-not’ is variable in the size of the plant, pubescence and colour of the flower. There are several varieties known, e.g. the red flowered var. coccinea K.&.K. (Impatiens coccinea Wall. Cat. no. 4732).