Herbs & Plants

Impatiens ecalcarata

Botanical Name: Impatiens ecalcarata
Family: Balsaminaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales
Genus: Impatiens
Species: I. ecornuta

Common Names: Touch-me-not or Western touch-me-not

Habitat:Impatiens ecalcarata is native to the northwestern United States and British Columbia in Canada. It grows on shady places in moist positions.

Impatiens ecalcarata is an annual flowering plant. The leaves are simple, smooth & alternate, with serrate margins. They are green or reddish-green, ovate to elliptic in shape. Flowers are solitary and borne on racemes in many forms: doubled, semi-doubled, etc. They come in many colors: purple, variegated whites, yellows, reds, and oranges.

The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.


Standard impatiens flowers come in a variety of colors, including white, red, pink, violet, coral, purple, and (a relative newcomer) yellow. Common impatiens flowers have much to offer, including shade-tolerance, long-lasting blooms, and brightly colored blossoms that come in a variety of colors.

Succeeds in any reasonably good soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist well-drained humus rich soil in a cool shady site. Plants self-sow in areas where minimum winter temperatures go no lower than -15°c. This plant has seed capsules that spring open forcibly as the seed ripens to eject the seed a considerable distance. The capsules are sensitive to touch even before the seed is ripe, making seed collection difficult but fun. This species is probably part of I. noli-tangere.

Edible Uses:
Young shoots – cooked in one change of water. See the notes above on toxicity. Seed – raw or cooked. They are tedious to collect in quantity, mainly because of their exploding seed capsules which scatter the ripe seed at the slightest touch.

Medicinal Uses: Antidote, parasiticide. Used in the treatment of warts, ringworm, nettle stings, poison ivy rash etc.

Other Uses:
A yellow dye is obtained from the plant. No more details are given. Used as a hair rinse for itchy scalps. No more details are given. A fungicide is obtained from the plant. No more details are given but it is likely to be the juice of the plant that is used.

Known Hazards: Regular ingestion of large quantities of these plants can be dangerous due to their high mineral content. This report, which seems nonsensical, might refer to calcium oxalate. This mineral is found in I. capensis and so is probably also in other members of the genus. It can be harmful raw but is destroyed by thoroughly cooking or drying the plant. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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