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Impatiens capensis

Higher Taxonomy
Family: BalsaminaceaeView Description 
Habit: Annual, [perennial herb, subshrub, few epiphytes], glabrous [(hairy)]; roots fibrous [rhizomatous to tuberous]. Stem: watery to fleshy. Leaf: generally alternate, simple, petioled, toothed or entire, veins pinnate, +- arched. Inflorescence: cyme, umbel-like, terminal or axillary, 1--8-flowered. Flower: bisexual, bilateral, twisting 180°; sepals 3[5], free, upper becoming lower, generally with nectar spur [or spur 0]; petals 3 [5, free or] +- fused in 2s; stamens 5, filaments stout, forming column around pistil, +- united at tip, shed at base, anthers united into cap over stigma; ovary 1, superior, generally 5-chambered, stigmas 1--5. Fruit: capsule, explosive [or berry-like drupe].
Genera In Family: 2 genera, +- 850 species: tropics, warm temperate; some ornamental.
eFlora Treatment Author: Peter F. Zika
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: ImpatiensView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Stem: lower generally with adventitious roots. Leaf: alternate, opposite, or whorled; stipules 0 or gland-like. Flower: variously spotted or lined; sepals 3, lateral 2 greatly reduced, +- green, lower with nectar spur, not green; petals apparently 3, lateral 2 forming a lip, upper 1 a banner over mouth of tube. Fruit: green. Seed: 1--7, green to black, ridged or papillate.
Etymology: (Latin: impatient, from explosive fruit)
Reference: Zika 2006 Novon 16:443--448
Unabridged Reference: Zika 2006 J Torrey Bot Soc 133:593--600; Zika, P. F. 2006. Impatiens ×pacifica (Balsaminaceae), a new hybrid jewelweed from the Pacific Northwest coast of North America. Novon 16: 443--448; Zika, P. F. 2006. The status of Impatiens capensis (Balsaminaceae) on the Pacific Northwest coast. J. Torrey Bot. Soc. 133: 593--600.
Impatiens capensis Meerb.
Habit: Plant 3--23 dm. Leaf: alternate; stipules 0; blade 3--11 cm, lanceolate, ovate, or elliptic, acute, entire to coarse-crenate. Inflorescence: 2--11-flowered, axillary. Flower: yellow-orange (pink, cream), with dark red marks or not; spur +- recurved, < 10 mm, taper to spur abrupt, lateral sepals 4--7 mm; cleistogamous flowers 2--3 mm, green, on peduncles < 1 cm borne early or late season. Fruit: oblong. Chromosomes: 2n=20.
Ecology: Disturbed, moist, often shaded sites, streambanks; Elevation: < 500 m. Bioregional Distribution: SnFrB; Distribution Outside California: northwestern Oregon to southwestern British Columbia, where invasive; native to eastern North America. Note: Probably introduced in California as ornamental; hybrids with Impatiens ecalcarata Blank. named Impatiens ×pacifica Zika.
Synonyms: Impatiens noli-tangere L., misappl.
Jepson eFlora Author: Peter F. Zika
Reference: Zika 2006 Novon 16:443--448
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Next taxon: Impatiens glandulifera

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Citation for this treatment: Peter F. Zika 2012, Impatiens capensis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 07, 2023.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2023, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 07, 2023.

Impatiens capensis
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse
Impatiens capensis
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse
Impatiens capensis
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse
Impatiens capensis
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse
Impatiens capensis
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse
Impatiens capensis
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse

More photos of Impatiens capensis in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Impatiens capensis:
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).